When I got pregnant the last time, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. You would think, after two pregnancies, your third and final one would be a walk in the park, right? I mean, things are generally easier when you know what to expect. But I learned, the hard way, that no two pregnancies are alike. There are so many things no one will tell you about your third pregnancy, too, so I was flying blind, with nothing but my irrelevant previous experiences to guide me.
You would think that by the time I was pregnant for the third time, I would know that nothing in pregnancy and parenthood ever goes entirely as planned. But every single time your expectations get thrown out the proverbial window, you're surprised and, more often than not, frustrated. Sow when I got sick and couldn't function, I felt like a terrible mom for not being able to chase my older kids around. What I thought would be an easy pregnancy ended up being the most difficult I had ever experienced.
The difficulties of my third pregnancy left me second-guessing and doubting myself. I mean, if I couldn't handle another pregnancy, could I be a good mom to another baby? The good news is that, well, of course I could. And while I definitely never wanted to be pregnant again, I made it through my third pregnancy and everything it entailed. It wasn't easy, sure, but I think I am actually a better mom.
So, if you are pregnant a third time, or are trying to conceive, read on for the things no one will tell you about your third pregnancy:
It's Hard AF
Pregnancy is hard, and honestly, it doesn't get easier when you have older children to chase around. You are also older than you were the first time you conceived, too. And while I wish it didn't matter, in my experience, pregnancy is harder the older you get. If you have complications like I did, your third pregnancy might suck even more than usual.
It's OK To Be Scared
It's OK to be scared to have another baby. It is. Your feelings are totally valid, and it's hard to have three kids. In fact, it's totally harder than having one or two. It's also easier in some ways, too. You are more experienced and know what you are doing, which helps, but sometimes it's scary to stare something new in the face. So if you're scared, that's OK.
You Might Have Second Thoughts
When I was pregnant the third time, I spent a lot of time questioning my sanity and wisdom in getting pregnant again. It was hard, it was different, and I wasn't sure that I could handle it.
In Some Ways It's Easier Than Number Two
Honestly, n some ways my third pregnancy was easier than my second. I knew what pregnancy felt like in my body, knew which symptoms were important and which ones were no big deal, and I was able to cut myself some serious slack.
Eventually, You Will Relax
I tried to do everything "right" my first pregnancy — eating only organic foods, limiting caffeine, and trying to maintain an impossible routine. During my third pregnancy, on the other hand, I pretty much survived on salt and vinegar potato chips and Sour Patch Kids, because they were the only foods I could keep down. It took me three pregnancies to figure out I didn't have to be perfect.
You Will Show Sooner
I started showing with my third pregnancy pretty much the moment I had a positive pregnancy test. I wish I was joking. I had wanted to keep it to myself, but there was no hiding my pregnancy.
Things Might Be Logistically Challenging
When you have older kids, labor and delivery isn't as easy to navigate. You can't just head to the hospital when it's "go time." Instead, you have to make arrangements for your older kids so someone can watch them while you labor and stay in the hospital. If you start laboring at night, you'll have to get them out of bed and meet up with your child care. Something as simple as going to the hospital because an ordeal.
You Will Probably Throw Away Your Birth Plan
My birth plan went from three pages of extremely detailed instructions for my first to "let's have a baby" for my third. It only took me three pregnancies to realize that birth plans have a tendency to go straight out the window, because sh*t happens during labor and delivery, and no amount of planning can change that.
You Will Make It
If you are pregnant with your third baby, you're probably tired, you might second-guess yourself as a mom or your decision to have a third child, and you're likely overwhelmed. All of those feelings are totally valid. But trust me when I tell you the following: you will make it. I'm serious. Your pregnancy will be hard AF, and life will be different after your baby arrives, but you've got this. You might actually even find yourself being a better mom to three kids, than you ever were to two.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.