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Having a Third Child

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Parenting, Families, & the Community > Having a Third Child



Have 2 boys and thinking about a 3rd child

Dec 2006

We have two young sons and are thinking about having a third child. We have always talked about having 2-3 kids and my husband and I are both from families of 3-4 kids, so we are used to a larger family. However, I am not sure we are thinking about a third child because we are subconsciously hoping to have a girl??? Has anyone else been in this situation? We wouldn't go through any special measures to have a girl, but I am wondering whether this may be the reason and if we end up having another boy, how that would be? I would love to hear from others who have been in this situation. How is it with 3 boys? There is a lot of pressure, I have noticed, when there are 2 boys and so many people have asked us if we're going to try for a girl. I don't want those comments to influence us. I love my boys and wouldn't have wanted it any differently, but I want to make sure if we try for three that it is for the right reasons so I don't get disappointed if we have another boy. anon


Hi, I'm the youngest of three girls and my husband is the youngest of three boys. My husband has an aunt and uncle who had eight boys!!! My advice would be, if you really want a third child then go for it. Good Luck!
Wow! I could've written that post! We have 2 boys and didn't find out what they were until they were born. We were happy both times. But, yes, a part of me now thinks it would be fun to have a girl, only because there are certain things that I can share only with a daughter. We are open to another child and I think I am OK with the chance of having a 3rd boy. I don't think it really matters to my husband if we would have a boy or girl - he is just worried about the financial costs of 3 children! Yes, I think you have to really think about it and be prepared that your 3rd may not be a girl. You need to really want a 3rd child, no matter what he/she is - at least, that's how it is for us maria
We have three boys and we love it. Both my husband and I would have liked to have a girl (and his mother had been pining for a girl since his brother wasn't one some 30 years ago). But with two boys already, I assumed we'd have another one and would've been happily surprised had the opposite come true. What we love about 3 (and this goes for either gender) is the chance for a changing dynamic. If one of our boys needs some time to himself, there's always another brother to play with. I think as they grow, they'll have a really special bond. We're also really clear that we're done now and won't keep trying for a girl. (We know a family of seven -- all girls!) Queen of the house
WE have 3 boys and yes; honestly, deep down I was ''hoping for a girl'' with number 3. Number 2 also, but what is wrong with that? I love my children no matter the sex. The bonuses for us having 3 boys are awesome. The boys are very close, best friends and playmates. Toys and clothes are recycled until they fall apart!! When someone asks if we will ''try for a girl'' I simply reply that, ''In a few years I will have enough of them!!''
Mom of 3 boys
I had two girls and decided to go for a third. I thought it would be nice to have a boy. My sister was pregnant with her second, two months ahead of me. She already had a girl close to the age of my older daughters and it turned out she was having a boy. We thought how great it would be if I had a boy, too. They'd be perfectly matched playmates. Well, I did not have a boy. And everyone was a bit disappointed. I was when I got the amnio news. My third daughter is coming up on two in January and from the minute she was born I have adored her and she is the darling of the family. That does seem to be the familiar story!

She is just her own wonderful person and I wouldn't change anything about her and I feel so lucky that some vague desire for a boy led me to have her.
3 of a kind makes full house


I have three kids. My first two were girls. My husband and I are both from a family of three kids. We always wanted to have three. It just happened that our third is a boy. I can not tell you how many people asked if we were trying to get ''our boy'' while I was pregnant. Once he was born we got just as many comments about how we could stop having children now that we had a boy. If our third ended up a girl I believe that we would have been just as happy. I have a few friends with three boys and they are happy with thier situation. Having healthy children is such a miracle, that it doesn't really matter their gender. Good luck with your decision. Joan
Hmm doesn't sound subconcious to me! Come on, you wrote this all out so obviously it's on your mind. In your place I would just say to myself, all boys will be easier, we have all the boy stuff and they will be the 3 amigos. A girl will be exciting and new and she will have two big brothers that will love her so much. If those are not equally convincing then you have a problem, but if it were me I'd go back and forth all day thinking about which one is better. If you really are wishing for a girl I think you should find out what you are having so any disappointment can be dealt with before baby is born anon
I am glad you posted and want to hear what others say about this topic. I can relate to the pressure and influence. What is the deal with this gender/girl thing? I am pregnant with my second boy and am amazed at the comments that people make when I tell them (with a smile and a happy voice) that I am having another boy. Some people are so rude and discounting of this pregnancy ("are you going to try again?", "well, that is just an excuse to have another", OR "oh no, you'll have your hands full", etc.). A simple "congratulations" would do! I'm sad to hear that the pressure/comments don't stop after the child is here.

Why do people respond to having 2 boys like it's the booby prize and having a girl or one of each is like winning the lottery? I know other cultures don't feel like that.

I'm really enjoying my first son and looking forward to another for us and him. Plus, people don't know what your situation is or how you are feeling. I actually lost a pregnancy that was a girl earlier this year and on some days these comments really get to me. I wish people would be more sensitive and keep THEIR desires and wishes to themselves. If you want more children or want to experience being a parent of a different gender, that is your family's personal decision and it would be nice to make it without pressure from others. If you have always wanted a larger family, I say go for it! If you might be disappointed to have another boy, have you thought about adoption? Sorry I can't bring more insight to your questions but I do understand the pressure and hope that you make a decision that is right for you and your family. Gook Luck! anon


Odds are your third will be a boy (but maybe not, I can think of one family I know who had a girl after 2 boys - and 6 families who had a 3rd boy). I wanted a girl, found out I was pregnant with a boy, don't remember being sad about it, just figured okay, that's how it's gonna be, at least I have lots of hand-me-downs... and haven't regretted my 3rd pregnancy one single second. I can't imagine my life without my third son. Some friends of mine who adopted a girl after having 2 boys told me: ''If you want another, have another. If you want a girl, adopt.'' Good luck! anon

How much does a third child really change your life?

Sept 2006

I am the happy mom of 2 great kids, a 6 year old girl and 4 year old boy. Lately I've have been thinking about #3. How much does it really change your family, and your life to have a third??? thanks for any advice
happymomof2


Go to http://www.havingthreekids.com/forum/

It's run one of our great BPN moms, you can read her thoughts on her 3 kids in her columns, http://www.havingthreekids.com/writing.html
working on #2


Third child after twins?

May 2006

We have twins (2 girls) who are just over 2 and my husband and I are now considering having a third child. We always thought we would have 2 children before getting pregnant with twins but now, as we are watching our girls grow up, we both are starting to feel that maybe we would like to have the experience of having another child again- people always say ''twins- wow you got it all over with at once!'' and its true in some ways but then what about the joy of 2 different pregnanys, two different infant and toddler experiences, and for the girls, the pleasure of a sibling of another age who isn't part of their pair. Mostly, I think I just somehow don't feel like our family is quite ''done'' yet, if that makes sense. But, of course, 3 kids sounds pretty daunting, for sure! I've read the posts about having 2 kids vs. 3 which have been helpful but just wondered from other twin moms what their thoughts are. Specifically, if anyone has thoughts on ideal age spacing between kids. Thanks.


I keep thinking about your message. I have twins and am also thinking of a third. I know it will be challenging. But what are some challenges for a lifetime of family, a sibling for our twins, etc. There is no perfect spacing, when you and your partner are ready, I say go for it. Have you seen this: http://www.havingthreekids.com/
We have boy twins and then we had another boy when they were 3.5 years old. I think this spacing was ideal. I also think that having 3 kids is the greatest thing I ever did. Having twins is hard. When you have a third, you can do that baby with one hand tied behind your back. At 3.5 years, the twins were old enough to understand about a baby brother and were getting more self-sufficient in terms of sleeping and learning to dress themselves. Four years later, it's even better. My youngest brings such joy and mischief into all of our lives. I could not imagine our family life without him. There's always enough love for a new baby.

As for space, they are all together in the same room (although he slept with us the first 6 months). Obviously, I am biased but I would do it again in a heartbeat. The only nervousness we had when we got pregnant was whether this would be another set of twins but the CVS reassured us that there was only one at 11 weeks.

As for people's comments, what do they know? And, who are they to suggest that 2 children is the appropriate family size? I doubt they mean it in any limiting way, however. They probably just observe lots of people with only 2 kids. I wouldn't give what other people think a second thought. Most people mean well but don't realize how they sound when they say that anon


Hi Twin Mama,

I took the plunge (unexpectedly, actually!) when my twins were 22 months old. Much to my utter shock, I found myself pregnant in the midst of twin toddlers. After ungoing IVF, my husband and I had just begun discussing what we might do with our frozen 'family'! Much to our amazement, we had a spontaneous pregnancy, which for me, was the way it had to be for me. We couldn't decide which side of the fence to land on, so nature helped push us to the 3rd child side!

Let me say that I felt much of what you've expressed in your post. I didn't quite feel like our family was 'done'. I wanted to experience another pregnancy, nurse more successfully, and like you, give my twins the experience of a sibling outside of there very close twin bond.

Fast forward 7 years! I am now the mother of nearly 10 year old twin boys and a 7 year old boy. I won't candy coat it; it's A LOT of work and three increases the demands more than you might expect. However, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I will tell you though, my twins are extremely close and I think it is a bit hard on the youngest especially since he's so close in age and the same gender. He has asked in the past why he didn't come as a twin, and would really like us to bring another baby home (nope!)

I think you are wise to ask the questions and contemplate all angles. If I had the chance to do it again would I? In a heartbeat! If I could have waited a little bit longer, that might have been good. Perhaps getting pregnant when the twins were 3 so that the baby really felt like the 'baby' and it was an easier transition for the older boys.

I want to tell you, too, that I have been running workshops for new mothers of twins for five years and in the past 2 months I've received four phone calls from moms with twins under the age of two who are expecting! In addition to those, many other of my past participants have gone on to have another pregnancy (one of which resulted in another set of twins!)

I wish you the best of luck!

Sincerely, Karen


Trying to decide whether to have a third

Feb 2005

I know there's been discussion about this topic before, but I'm seeking more specific advice about whether to have a third child. We have a two-year-old and a four-month-old, and life is very challenging right now and sometimes I can't imagine why we would want to put ourselves through the stress of having another baby. But as our youngest child is outgrowing his clothes and baby gear, I'm trying to decide whether to keep the stuff for a possible third child -- or give it away. What I want to know is: Does life get easier as the kids get older, or more complicated? What are the main reasons for not having a third child? Do parents of three children feel like they never have enough time for each child? Are children with more siblings more outgoing and well-adjusted? I fear that if I decide to just have two children, I will regret it later in life. But I worry that I may not be able to handle the stress of raising three kids, especially when they are young.
unsure mother


I have a four year old, a two year old and a three month old. We made the decision to have three children because we wanted our children to have more than one sibling. When we were deciding, my husband turned the question around and asked ''why shouldn't we have another baby?'' when we couldn't come up with a compeling reason not to, we did. At first I felt like a freak here because it seems like everyone in the bay area has only one or two children. But since having the baby, I see more and more families of three. They are out there- lots of them. Anyway, I feel the transition to two children was harder than the transtition to three. Having three is just more of the same juggling, which we have gotten pretty good at. You have a small baby now and when you ha! ve a small baby the thought of more babies is overwhelming but yes, it does get easier when they get older. My older ones play with each other and have a great time together most of the time. I would suggest you hold onto your baby things and postpone your decision until your little one is a little older. Then things might seem more do-able. Or you may decide that two is just perfect for you!
family of five
We love our three kids (ages three, five, and nine), but it must be said that the baby-stage is by far the easiest stage! Life gets increasingly more difficult and stressful for us. There are issues of after-school care, summer camp (no school during the summer), piano lessons, gymnastics, swim lessons, play dates, mis-matched schedules (different kids need to be in different places at the same time sort of thing), and so on. ANd! yes, I DO feel that one kid is always waiting for something, one kid is always last, one kid gets more than the others, two kids must share a room but not the third kid (who gets the room alone?) and the list goes on. We cannot imagine our family without three kids, but at the same time, if one of the two older ones has a sleep-over at another kid's house, we really notice a huge difference in how easy it is to have TWO kids rather than three. WE love the idea that they have siblings (rather than one sibling), and that they can navigate the world together, but it does not get easier at they get older.
Wish I had three arms!
hi, I had my third child nine months ago--my oldest is a girl, followed by two boys. My husband and I both wanted a third and even so it's been quite a challenge. It's absolutely exhausting, significantly more so than having two. But totally worth it. And the kids truly love it. It's been interesting to see how having another baby has nudged the first two into a very close relationship with each other; the attention they don't get from me has clearly been made up for by each other. And they both love the baby (and are proud of having another brother). It's been really hard but there's a lot of joy. If you google ''Having three kids'' you'll find an installment of a column I write on this topic (the column is called Degrees of Freedom, this particular installment is called ''On having three kids.''). It doesn't have much in the way of advice (I'm still figuring it all out) but provides a sma! ll picture of what it's like having three. For us, anyway. Best of luck to you--
Jennifer
I have a 6yo, 4yo and a 1-month old. I was worried about how it would work out, and still worry, but so far, it has been great. The older girls love their little sister. They want to hold her all the time. Whereas we had sibling issues when the middle one was born and her older sister was not yet 2, this time we have none. So far. That said, we have been lucky to have a very easy-tempered baby, who sleeps 20 hours/day, and never cries which is not something you can count on! I am the middle of three and my siblings and I have the same spacing as my children, approximately. I loved having an older sister and a younger brother. My parents didn't spend all that much time with us individually, but they stressed the importance of family togetherness and spent lots of time with all of us and I never felt th! e lack of individual attention. I think that on the issue of who is better adjusted, who is more outgoing the jury is either out, or in with inconclusive findings. So much depends on the individual personalities of the children and how they interact. There is no doubt that things get easier as the children get older. You may have a more complicated schedule, but the kids are SO much easier. They are more rational, and have more stamina and tolerance of adversity. And they can get themselves dressed and get their breakfasts and help with dishes and tidying. I took my three girls on a hike to Ano Nuevo to see the elephant seals last week. The older two were happy to run and walk the whole way---no more carrying!---and the baby slept. I had thought that such adventures might be a thing of the past, and of the future, but not for now.

We'll see what the future brings. Check back with me in a couple months---I may have changed my tune!
susan


Hi,
I'm still new at this, but thought I'd chime in...I have 5 and 3 year olds, and now have an 8 week old. When I was at your stage in the game (when the 3 year old was only 4 months), I couldn't imagine having a third. It was way too difficult just getting out of the house with 2 kids. But yes, it does get much easier. I've found the transition between 2 and 3 MUCH easier than from 1 to 2.

But it took longer. We were sure we were finished after two. But we kept the baby clothes and equipment anyway...the first two are exactly 2 years apart, but we were not ready to consider having a third by the time the first one was 15 months...it took a whole 'nother year. #3 is exactly three years younger than the second.

But we just knew. All of a sudden, the younger one became easier...she slept through the night, she walked and talked, and we knew we wanted another baby. Don't throw away your infant stuff...just give it a while. You'll know. I had only one sibling, so the idea of being a family of 5 was foreign to me, but we could afford a third, and we had room (we gave up our guest room to make a baby room; the girls share a room), and we got to a point where both of us really wanted to have more kids, surprisingly to me.

My advice: it's too soon to think about a third now; give it time; wait til you're sleeping through the night, getting out and doing things with your two little ones...then try to picture a third one; with ample preparation, will your first two welcome a third? Do you have room? Can you afford a third without too much trouble? (Of course, people have kids regardless of these issues, but we wanted to remain secure and comfortable.) Follow your heart. You'll know.
Berkeley mom of 3


here are my personal reasons for not having a third:
1. my exhaustion with two, and fear of not having time/ energy enough for my two current and for myself and marriage
2. money: we are barely making it in the Bay area and can't afford a bigger house so it would be 3 kids in one smallish bedroom- I don't have any notion against it per se but knowing my older! one who needs some defined space of her own, it would be stressful and chaotic. don't know how I'll be able to help with college costs as is. vacations- plane tickets X 5 for us would mean none, x 4 we can do occasionally.
3. managing carpools; all kids would have less activities/ sports type things just by sheer logistics of getting everyone somewhere, and money.
4. our family does not have a large social/ extended family support in the area.
But I don't know anyone with 3 who regrets it (once you meet the new person how could you?) It's just more to manage and I think many people are cut out for it, I just know that I'm not and might seriously have a nervous breakdown with one more (oh, reason # 5 I enjoy solitude and need a certain amount of quiet when I can get it, hence the impending nervous breakdown if there was another screaming, maybe even playing or laughing voice in the house.)
admiring those with 3 who do it well
I'm a mom of 3 kids, ages 11, 7 and 5. I have found that life has certainly become busier since my children have grown from the baby/toddler stage! When my kids were little, it was much easier to have them on a schedule, but as they develop their own personalities, needs, etc., life has become more complicated. I looked at the archives before responding to this message, and I relate very much to the mom who mentions homework and outside activities taking up an enormous amount of time. Most parents I know have weekends that are taken up with activities such as swimming, soccer, playdates, sleepovers, etc., and it is definitely more difficult to schedule these things when you have 3 children! I am spending much more time volunteering at school, and am thinking of cutting back at my already part time job. Many friends who have children ! of simlar ages to mine, have decided not to work outside the home at all during these years. I would say that lack of money is a reason that many people don't have 3 children. We both have flexible, secure jobs within the UC system, which has excellent benefits and pensions. We also have educational savings accounts, but we still worry about having 3 kids in college and the cost involved. As far as time together is concerned, we have very little. But as the kids get older, we are hoping to involve them more in the kind of activities we used to do together before kids - skiing, hiking, outdoors activities. I am no expert, but I would assume that children who get the most attention from their parents are the most well adjusted. It's definitely a juggling act, as each child has their distinct personality. I wish I had spent more time at my oldest child's school when she was in kinderg! arten, but I had a newborn and a 2 year old. My middle child doesn't like being the middle child and she gets very frustrated. On the whole, my kids get along fine, but there is more fighting than there was with two - often, two of the kids will ''gang up'' on the third. I come from a family of 5 kids and I know I hated being from a large family, while my sister loved it.... Kids can certainly pick up on how stressed out and chaotic things are, so if you think you could not handle another child now, please give this some thought. By the way, we know at least 2 families who decided to have a 3rd child and ended up with twins!
good luck with your decision

Pregnant with 3rd, afraid of starting over

Nov 2004

I just found out that I am expecting my third child. I have two boys that will be ages 14 and 9 when the baby is born. I am having a difficult time with accepting this pregnancy, which is very different from my first two boys. I find myself breaking into tears when I talk about it. I am not sure if this will pass or not but it troubles me alot. I am really afraid of starting over again. Does anyone have any advice or words of encouragement?
baby blues


Take heart, the right hormones will kick in and before your baby is born you'll be just dying to hold that little bundle of joy. I speak from experience. I am 31 weeks pregnant with my third. I have a 6yo and a 4yo. Life had just gotten easy when I decided to ruin it by having another one (this was my perspective early in my pregnancy anyway). I was ambivalent about getting pregnant with the third, but decided that one day I would regret it if I didn't. My ambivalence turned to complete horror and regret immediately after I found out I actually was pregnant. I was unhappy most of the time about the pregnancy and didn't want to talk or think about it. I regularly referred to the baby as ''stupid baby.'' As in, ''after this stupid baby is born it will be back to sleepless nights.'' ''After this stupid baby is born every car trip over an hour will be an ordeal again.'' I had a very hard time thinking any positive thoughts about the baby. Flash forward to now. I am looking forward to having a baby. I can't believe that I had all that sadness about the sweet little lump kicking around inside. Yesterday my 4yo told me that I had granted one of her biggest wishes because she always wanted a little sister. The kids are very excited. I bought the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and have convinced myself that we're going to make sleep a central focus this time and be better rested and happier. But most of all my 6yo and 4yo are reminding me every day that they are growing up fast, and that having little ones around is fun and delightful. I am sure your 14yo and 9yo will be big helps to you and be excited about the baby. Let yourself have the negative feelings and try not to worry. The mothering hormones will kick in and you'll find yourself being anxious to give birth and hold your baby and all your fears will be a distant memory. And you know that you've done it twice before and you can do it again.
Take care, susan

Unplanned pregnancy = 3rd child

May 2004

Last week I realized that I'm unexpectedly pregnant with our 3rd child. Although the initial shock is diminishing, I'm still having mixed emotions about having a 3rd child, and feeling a little guilty about not being super excited like I was with our first two. We don't have family in the area and are concerned about being able to handle being a family of 5. (We are going to look into hiring a nanny to help when the baby is born.) I'd love to hear from those who have 3+ children and their experiences, hopefully positive(!). Thanks. anon


We had a similar thing happen to us in that we were happy with two children, and had decided we were not having more children (for emotional, financial, and ecological reasons). Although we had taken actions to prevent a third pregnancy, we now have three children (my O.B. said that I was ''that one percent''). Anyway, I cried when I found out I was pregnant, was in denial most of the pregnancy, and did not feel overjoyed (as I had been with the other two pregnancies). Fear not. Although our lives are indeed very messy and chaotic and we do not have a dime or an inch of space to spare, we adore our baby and cannot imagine our collective lives without him! His sisters love him, and he loves them, and we often comment on how lucky he is to be born into such a place of priviledge. He is like the family pet, and adds much laughter and humor to our lives. Of course, it is not easy, and a family of five seems huge in this day and age. We fear that it will only get more complicated and comprimised as they grow older, but we are happy. Somehow, it all works out. Good luck to you. Mary

Third child with 6- and 4-year old?

Oct 2003

I have read the archives on having a third child but the posts don't really address my concern. I would like to ask people how much a third child cramped their style. The older two are old enough for a lot of adventures: skiing, kayaking, hiking. Did having a third child mean that only one parent got to go with the older two? Did you resent being stuck at home with the baby? Or did you end up not doing much for a couple of years until the baby caught up? My husband is lukewarm to the idea of a third because he thinks that it will deprive the two we have of a lot of great experiences for the next four years or so. My older child asks for a baby brother or sister all the time, but I am not sure she would actually enjoy the experience (she likes a lot of attention). Anyway, despite all these factors I still feel like I want a third. I would also be glad to hear from people who decided against a third and how they feel about it now. Can't Decide


We have three children, ages nine months, four, and seven. One thing that people don't want to talk about are the demands of school and team sports. We have found that since the baby came, it is really hard to help our older child with homework (and yes, he has a lot!). The four year old can play or draw, but the baby demands attention (and will for at least another year or two). My husband often works up until dinner time, or later, and I find that between getting dinner ready, doing homework, baths, and so on, life is very complicated. I can only imagine what next year will be like when both kids have homework. Then there are the soccer practices and games, music lessons, and so on. I feel like much of the time my husband and I have to divide the kids in order to manage. We all adore the baby, of course, but it has not been easy for any of us. I feel like I tell the four year old to ''wait'' a lot of the time, because between the baby and the homework, I have no more ''me'' to give. This feels awful. I know it gets easier (or harder. I am not sure), but depending on the needs of your older children, three is a handful. I have no regrets, and cannot imagine it any other way, but truth be told, my head is still spinning. Honest Mama of Three Boys

Tips for siblings adjusting to third?

March 2003

Hello! We have a 4 yo and 2 yo and are expecting our last baby next month. I'm at at-home mom who works p/t (from home) and was looking for any tips on adjusting to 3, minimizing rivalry/regression, and any other insights you can share. Thanks very much. ml


I am the father of 3. When my youngest daughter was born, my wife and I bought presents for our older children. When we brought our new baby home, we gave the kids their presents and told them that they were from their new baby sister. That helped take the sting out of having a ''stranger'' in the house.

We also encouraged the kids to talk to their new sister while she was still in the womb. They had fun talking to ''mommy's tummy'' and it encouraged them to think of the baby as a member of the family.

If your 4 year old is sufficiently mature, you can talk to him/her about helping you with the baby and being the baby's ''protector''. I did this with my son and it worked great. I told him that heroes help protect other people and that is what I wanted him to do for his baby sister. Kids love to feel involved.

No matter how exhausted you feel (and 3 kids will exhaust you) remember to give your older children a hug and a kiss every day and remind them that you love them just as much as ever. Tell them that you're sorry you don't have as much time to spend with them, but that things will get better when the baby is older.

Lastly, have your husband plan special outings with the older kids. Even an hour out of the house for lunch and playing at McDonalds can do wonders for everyone (especially you). A kids movie is even better (they're gone longer). Best of luck. Robert


3rd child in a 2 bedroom condo

Oct 2002

We are presently a family of 2 adults plus a 3 year old and a 1 year old and I just found out I am pregnant. We cannot afford a home in the Bay Area so we bought a 2 bedroom condo before our 1 year old was born. I feel we are going to get funny looks from other condo owners and I don't feel this is an ideal situation, but I'm too stressed to move and we love the Bay Area. I'm sure this situation will work itself out, but any suggestions?? Thanks!!!


I have three sons 16, 13 and 9. We're in a two bedroom house in Albany and due to financial setbacks I never could add on. I'm amazed at how my children have managed to carve out space for themselves. I always had their toys in the living room because I wanted them near me. So their room is for sleeping and dressing. The oldest does his homework there, too. He puts on his CD player and he has his own world. He reads a lot in his bed. The other two have desks in the living room.

It's really worked out alright, I'd say they are closer emotionally than if they had their own rooms.

One strange thing is that they fear being alone much longer than I think is usual. But the 13 and 16 year old are fine.

One day I overheard a conversation my sons were having about big houses -- ''In some of the houses the kids don't even SEE each other,'' my son said.

So my experience has been that you can define their own space -- their own book shelves, toy shelves...It's cozy, too. Cornelia


We have a three bedroom house with four kids. We manage to fit. When the children were younger we were all within two of the bedrooms. All of our babies slept with us until they were almost three and the kids of opposite sex shared rooms until they were about seven years old. You will manage to fit within your space. It might become more difficult when the children are older. But you have many years to figure it out before it should really be a problem. Susan

We're pregnant with #3 - I'm terrified

July 2002

We've just learned that we're pregnant with #3, and I should be delighted. My husband was resistant for a long, long time, but after many late-night discussion, he finally agreed. Now I'm terrified. What was I thinking? Where will I find the time? The money? The attention? My current two (ages 4 and 2) are a fabulous team -- am I going to ruin their lives? My husband and I (who have a generally good relationship) certainly find struggles over childcare to be a source of stress in our marriage -- are we going to kill each other now? Help! I'm just in sheer panic. Those of you with more than two, please tell me it was a good decision!


You can relax! I had my third child when my first two children were 2 and 5 and everything worked out wonderfully! You will find that you will naturally fit in whatever you have to do for your new baby with what you are doing for your two older children, including giving attention to all and affording everything (reuse whatever you can from the elders for the new baby). Our biggest challenge to this day (my children are now 15, 12, and 10) is finding individual time with each child--it's nearly impossible! But lives haven't been ruined and I think we're a fairly functional family. Lots of love and senses of humor are the key. While stressful at times (but isn't this true of all families no matter what size?), overall it has been a lot of fun and I can't imagine my life without all three of my kids in it. Have fun!!
I have three stepchildren, and I wasn't around for the stage you're describing, but I have a couple of comments I'll offer for whatever they're worth. First, didn't you have some of these same fears when you were expecting number 2 -- and that worked out OK, didn't it? I think some of the extreme fear you're having is due to the fact you ''talked your husband into it.'' Well, he agreed, and it happened, and you didn't do that by yourself, I trust. Second, three are more work than two which are more work than one. No getting around it. I'm sure at times you never thought you could deal with one child, but you did, then you never thought you could handle two, and you did. You'll manage three, too. Third, the dynamics between and among the three are endlessly fascinating. (If you enjoyed the alliances on ''Survivor'' - just wait.) My three have much better relationships with each other, in very different ways, than any of the two sibling combinations I've observed. Your two may get along beautifully at this moment in time, but that could change next month. Having three does widen the opportunities for conflict, but it also disperses the intensity of sibling rivalry. Fourth - believe in karma. You're going to have three, it was for a reason, it will work out for the best. Good luck!
We have three children (ages 6,3, and six months). It is NOT EASY, believe me. My older two now fight with each other (which they never did before), I do not spend much time with them anymore, I am tired, and my house is a mess! BUT, I am so totally in love with the baby, as are the other two kids, that I am positive that there will come a time when everything runs smoothly again. This baby is like the family pet, and we all adore her so much that we wouldn't have it any other way. It is really hard for a while, and I still miss the time I used to spend with the other two, but others who have three kids tell me that this will pass. Three kids is a lot harder and a lot more work than two, but somehow, it works. You can't change things now, so just enjoy the time you have with your other two and get ready to welcome your new little one! Third Time is the Charm!
My situation was so similar to yours. It took a long time for my husband to agree to a third child and when I finally became pregnant, I was surprised to feel so anxious about it. I felt so much ambivalance when I expected to feel joy and anticipation. My children were also a good team (aged 4 and 7) and things were getting a lot easier with their development and dynamics. Just why was I rocking the boat with this new baby? Not to mention the added expenses and stress to the family. But I realized that I was also anxious while pregnant with the other two; that the anxiety was of the unknown. What was important with my husband and me was to not get into a blame mode with one another when things naturally got rough. While you were the one who wanted a third child more than your husband, he must remember that you both willfully entered this decision. Family dynamics will change and these days a break for me is just having less kids around vs. no kids. Make sure you have enough time to spend together with your husband to keep contact as you will find yourselves busier with the juggle. A good one is the Baby Brigade at the Park Speakeasy Theater in Oakland! You just need a sitter for your other two. You say you already have a great team with your two now, but think of how enriching having another sibling can be, that you will have a larger and greater team! I don't have regrets with having a third. It's been a wonderful experience for all of us. Best of luck to you!
We had three, much to my husband's dismay (at first). Number 3 has fit in quite easily with the other 2. I can't imagine how depthless (''easy?'') life would be without him and we all love him to pieces. He is so easy compared to #1 and #2. I don't think I ventured out of the house after #1 for 3 weeks. With #3 I drove to preschool (multiple times), children's hospital, the orthopedist, etc. all before he was 5 days old (#2 pushed #1 off the play structure when #3 was a few days old, but I don't think it had anything to do with #3; who knows, I could be totally wrong). Do I wish we had done it differently? Only that we were all in agreement ahead of time. I can't imagine life without #3. He's a wonder (as are they all...) kj

Considering having a third

Oct 2001

We are considering having a third child and would love to hear from others who've been through this about your experience. (While we are concerned about over-population, we also believe that the world very much needs well educated, well cared for citizens and feel like we have the resources to provide such an upbringing.) How has adding a 3rd child to your family affected the dynamics of your current family constellation? What positive and negative afffects has it had on your other children? What positive and negative affects has it had on you and your partner? Was there a significant difference in speed and completeness of physical recuperation after a 3rd pregnancy as compared to after a first or second pregnancy? What kind of other resources have you called upon to try to ensure that the needs of all in the family are met (housekeeping help? au pair? Costco? cooking in large batches ahead? what has helped?) Having the benefit of your experience to date, would you still add a third child if you could make that choice again? Why or why not? We'd also be interested in hearing of the experience of families who have added a third child by adoption to 2 older biological or adopted children. Your thoughts are much appreciated. Anonymous


We have three children. We had planned to have three, but our third was bit of a surprise when she decided to grace our family with her presence. I love the fact that we are, indeed, providing the world with three strong females, and I love getting to know them in the special way you know children who are in your family. I'm from a family of four, and I believe that the bonds of siblings are especially special in this world. But, it is definitely a much more complex situation with three children who have different needs, need parental time and energy and financial support. I believe it increases pressures in the family, and requires more attention to family matters. Leah Statman, a local parent educator, speaks about this quite a bit in her work, and if you are in a quandary you might consider speaking with her (phone 525-5080). Good luck in your considerations about this. Diane
We have three great children (12, 8, 4), and I am someone who could not have been stopped from trying to have three. The joy that was brought by the first two, our love of kids, our relative ease of adapting to a kid-centered life, the presence of three grandparents nearby, a life situation that "worked" for accomodating the first two, and my easy pregnancies all made us sure that this was the right thing.

While we could not ever imagine anything different, and our third child is easy and a complete joy, having three children has been extremely difficult. Instead of feeling like great parents (as we did when we had just two kids), we feel pretty humbled and inadequate. Our philosophy of childrearing is much like growing plants; you provide mulch, just the right fertilizer, more or less water, pinch back ungainly growth, replant as necessary to different sun conditions etc. according to the specific needs of the specific plant. We still believe in that approach, but find that it is harder and harder to do. Often nearly impossible. Both my husband and I work (and the increased costs of three put more pressure on maintaining that configuration) and the arrangement of our work schedules makes it so there is usually just one of us with the three kids. We feel like we're out in the back forty, flying the crop duster by once in a while, with the plants getting tended more on a schedule and a formula and less according to individual need. And it feels really bad not to be able to be the kind of parent you would like to be.

Because two kids and two jobs overfills your time to start with, adding a third kid to the equation changes things not by making you busier (because you're already full up) but by making you decide what things you can no longer do. Will it be reading to a child? A chance for you to exercise? Arranging playdates for the third child? Your sleep? Music lessons? Time with your husband? Involvement at your child's school? Socializing with other families? Letting your kid play a team sport? Having the time to save all the special artifacts from your children (teeth, school work, art work)? Our family schedule is solidly busy...wall-to-wall. Even then we can't provide our children with the support and opportunities that we were able to do when there was just two of them. And we can't even begin to meet the needs we have as parents and adults.

One of the surprises for me was that the first two years of having three kids (when the third was still a baby) were much easier. I remember thinking that we were handling it! I think this is because it is so much easier to meet the needs of a baby while doing other things for other children. Now that our three have their own interests, own friends, own schools, etc. it is much much harder.

Yes, a housecleaner helped a lot. And bulk cooking. And all those systems you can set up to handle the massive, exponential growth in logistics that occurs. And money helps, as lots of the solutions cost. But ultimately, I think that parents of three (esp. if both work) need to adjust their ideal of what kind of parent they can be and what kind of lifestyle they can maintain. That's an adjustment that's coming hard for us.


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