I had three children in three years (and ten days).
Two of them are just 11 months apart.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Let me tell you: it wasn’t easy. From the comments to the crying, the whole experience was overwhelming. But if you find yourself in the unique situation of having two children in the same year, or even 18 months apart, this message is for you. And I promise it’s an encouraging one!
I actually think I’m a disgrace to my generation. I did all the things “too soon”, like getting married and starting a family. I was 21 when I got married, 22 when I got pregnant, and 23 when I delivered my first baby. We did not plan this, of course, because we weren’t even out of school yet – gasp! But there you have it.
When we finally did graduate and get grown-up jobs, we decided to try and have another baby. “Trying” is a funny word in my case, though I’m well aware and sensitive to the fact that it’s a fitting word for many. I was pregnant within the month. At the end of the school year as a first grade teacher, I delivered a healthy baby girl, and my stay-at-home mom days began!
That summer, while an adjustment, might be the most fun we’ve ever had in our relatively short time as a family. Even with a newborn, we had dates, went on walks, met friends for dinner as a family, and even took vacations! The end of the summer? Different story.
When my daughter was 10 weeks old, I knew. I wasn’t feeling awesome, and I knew it wasn’t just the sleep deprivation talking. I even took a test that resulted in a FALSE NEGATIVE in a girlfriend’s bathroom- which I quickly chased with a mimosa. Hey, I thought I had something to celebrate. Two days later: positive. Followed by panic.
The next several months were HARD. My body wasn’t ready for another baby. Everything was sore, stretched, and still trying to recover from the 9.3-pounder I had just delivered. We were already tight financially going from two incomes to one. How were we going to manage?
It gets better: just three months before our youngest came into the world, my precious husband was one of the hundreds laid off from his job in oil & gas. We. Were. Sunk. I was just sure of it.
You know the thing about “it takes a village?” Yeah. That’s a thing. When our sweet little 9.5 lb baby boy came screaming onto the scene just 3 weeks shy of his sister’s first birthday, we clung dearly to our tribe. We leaned into community and found refuge in almost total strangers. We made friends, shared struggles, and decided we were going to be honest! That seems simple, but it really wasn’t. And it still isn’t. But there’s beauty in that space.
I rarely find it easy to ask for help, but I needed it. And maybe you need it, too! Guess what? It’s OKAY! I wouldn’t alive today (I’m 100% serious) without help from family, who are thankfully close by, and friends! My battle with postpartum depression was a doozy! And life with a potty-training three-year-old, a toddling twelve-month-old, and a brand spanking new colic-y screaming banshee can drive anyone to the edge, PPD not withstanding.
Now that I’ve scared you, let me just say this: I wouldn’t trade it. I wouldn’t take one second of it back, save those days when I lost my temper and locked myself in the bathroom just to sit in the tub and cry (are you normal too??). I really mean it. Now that they’re a little older they’re the greatest friends and best built-in playmates! I actually have joy when they storm the bedroom door in the morning, after I’ve had my coffee, and settle in for a cartoon in my arms or a game of Jump on Mom ’til She Pees a Little. It’s my first smile of the day!
Yes, to some I had my kids “too close” together. Yes, the comments like “You know how this happens, right?” were hard to stomach. The stares and snickers were (are) noticeable. But I have the honor of being a mom to three beautiful and bright, precious kids! Who cares how far apart they are? Every stage and age has its challenges. I like to think I’m getting mine in large doses of long-suffering and laughter!
However close, or far, in age your children are: you’re doing an awesome job raising good humans! Even if you’re sure it’s going to kill you some days.