Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days {Day 10}: The Hardest Number

I think one of the things that holds many couples back from having more children is that oh-so-difficult transition from 0 to 1.  I remember bringing my squalling baby boy home from the hospital.  I was sore and exhausted, and he didn't seem to care.  I thought, "If having a baby is this hard, I don't think I'll be able to do it again!"

August 2003
Gavin (8 months)

We went on a family vacation last month.  At one of our stops, the kids were able to decorate gingerbread cookies in a busy bakery shop.  I noticed an older man hovering nearby watching.  After a few minutes, he approached us and said, "Are these all your kids?"  When we smiled and said that yes they were, he said, "Wow.  You must be busy, but they are so well behaved.  I have trouble keeping up with my one grandson." 

I felt the same way as a mother of one all those years ago, but despite my reservations, twenty months after the first, another baby was born and I was the mother of two.  Twenty-five months later, I became mom of three.  While childbirth recovery was a breeze that time, mothering three children aged four and under was not! 

I'm not sure whether it was their ages or their particular temperaments or the fact that we began homeschooling that year, but most days I felt like I was drowning.  Slowly, slowly, I began to catch my breath.  Slowly I began to catch up on my sleep.  Slowly things calmed down and I could bake a batch of cookies without someone crying for my attention.  Someone still clung to my leg and someone else still poured more flour on the table than into the bowl, but things began to look up and I didn't feel quite so helpless. 

May 2008
Maddie (3), Owen (21 months), Gavin (5)

When I was expecting Benjamin, I was nervous.  Would his birth stir up those old feelings of inadequacy?  No, instead I was pleased to realize our family had turned a corner.  Though we still had a toddler and a baby in the house, we also had older children who wanted to help retrieve diapers and play with the little ones while I ran to the bathroom.  Though adding a newborn to the mix, the dynamics of the house stayed relatively the same. 

Last year, we added Baby #5, Alaine,  and honestly, it was the smoothest transition yet!  One child was hard and three was tough, but four and five?  Not so bad. 

What was your hardest number?

{And a bonus question: is there a topic for the struggling mama you would like to see me address in the remaining 21 days of this series?}


  1. For us, 1 to 2 was the hardest. Our second was a difficult baby due to reflux. He didn't sleep much and screamed a lot. After that, 3 and 4 were't so bad. :-)

  2. I think 1 and 2 were the most difficult. Three under three wasn't so easy, either, but so far adding #4 hasn't really made a huge difference.

  3. I'm hoping 3 is my hardest number with 4 due in March... we'll see. :)

  4. for me it was definately the transition from 2 to 3 children. It took me a few years to recover, probably when the youngest was 3 before I started wishing for another child. My oldest had just turned 2 yrs old when my youngest was born so I am sure that added to the difficulty. My number 4 was a very easy transition, and from that point we were taking in foster children, and had some hard children before #5 came along, so that was a pretty easy addition too. We will be adding #6 soon, so we will see how that goes!

  5. Ack! I can't really answer that "hardest number" easily. I personally didn't think it was that hard adding our third as far as having a baby goes. But she's so laid back, and seriously rarely cries even when she's hungry. But as far as "life" goes - I think adding the third has been the hardest so far. Like you, we added homeschooling, so that's a whole new twist on life! I guess I never feel like I'm ever quite caught up, and that's really, really hard for me. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what #4 brings {if God so ordains a #4}.

    As far as topics...Kristin, I feel like you've been doing such a great job! I really feel like I can identify with most of what you're writing, and leaving encouraged. So, I really don't have any suggestions...I just really appreciate all you've put into this!

  6. I discovered your blog due to a friend's link on facebook, and I've really been enjoying it.

    I'd love to see you address discipline/working on your child's heart. To me, this can be one of the most draining things of mothering (we have a 4 year old and a one year old).

    Thanks! Katie from MI

  7. Right now I have 3 kids age 4 and under. The 2nd was the hardest. He was an extremely fussy baby and rarely slept. After getting through his first year, adding the 3rd child to the mix was a piece of cake!

  8. Thank you so much for doing this series. I have found a lot of comfort (and hope) in your posts. I would love to see you do a piece about how you get through bouts of sickness. I find with my kids that is what I struggle with the most, due to the sleep deprivation. It boggles my mind how others get through that (especially with more kids- I just have 2).

  9. For me the hardest was going from # to #4. Going from #2 to #3 and going from #4 to #5 were by far the easiest too.

    I'm loving this series. Do you have any recommendations on good parenting books? Maybe a day devoted to good quality books for training children.

  10. For us #2 and #3 were hardest. #2 came along 3.5 years after #1 so we started all the baby stuff over. #3 came along when #2 was 13 months old, still a baby himself. It was exhausting.

    We're currently expecting #7, who will also be 13 months apart from the next sibling. I'm not so worried as babies 4, 5, and 6 were easier to adjust to. It's amazing, but true, the more you have the easier it is all the way around.

  11. I had the hardest time after Judah (6). I think I wrote about it on my blog...I'll have to go remind myself why it was hard. (looking back, though, it was probably extra curriculars...ballet, baseball, church...which we've cut out now).

    Almost read all 16/31 posts. They're really good Kristin. I might point everyone at my blog over to be encouraged!

    Love, kathi

  12. 0 to 1 was the hardest for me (although I only have 2 so I can't say much :) I was so miserable and stressed due to quite a few factors involving the new baby (horrible delivery with a worse recovery, serious difficulties breastfeeding, postpartum depression, etc) that when my brother-in-law and his wife happily announced their pregnancy a few months after the birth of my daughter, I felt SO sorry for them.
    My son (#2) was a very difficult baby who screamed basically nonstop for his first 3 and a half months, but even still, the transition was easier. I already knew what to expect and I didn't get hit with PPD again. Things were rough with him (refused to sleep without major assistance from only me, screamed nonstop, couldn't figure out breastfeeding, etc), but the transition from 1 to 2 was easy enough.


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