The Truth About Having A Third Child


When you have your first child, you become the center of the universe. No one has ever had a baby before, this is the most important event in the history of the world.

You are able to rest and nap every day. You walk around like an earth mother, hand on your belly, waiting, waiting, waiting for a ‘proper’ bump. You feel calm and smile a lot. You love the nausea and vomiting because it means your baby is growing. You eat fresh organic food, abstain from alcohol, and take all your vitamins. You never want it to end. You are overwhelmed with information and advice. People feel compelled to tell you their horror labour stories. Your obstetrician actually talks with you. You have baby showers and play games where someone smushes a Ferrero Rocher into a nappy and pretends it’s a baby poo. You think it’s slightly gross.

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People bend over backwards to help, to shop, to give you their old baby clothes. People are excited for you. They want to touch your bump. Everyone asks if it’s your first and when you say ‘yes’ they give you a big warm smile. They tell you it will be the most amazing thing that has ever happened to you. You believe them.

Related: 10 Things You Should Know About Babies

You read books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting, subscribe to parenting magazines and sign up to online baby forums. You spend months decorating the nursery, making sure everything coordinates. You spend hours researching SIDS and developmental milestones, you buy all the latest safety gear, harnesses, slings, and bouncers. You put special plugs in all the empty power sockets, and put all the poisons and medicines in a high locked cupboard accessible only with a six-digit combination and certain phases of the moon.

You carefully cut the tags out of baby clothes so they don’t scratch your little darling, and wash everything twice in super-soft, extra-sensitive, environmentally friendly, baby-friendly organic detergents. You vow to never give your baby a pacifier, they won’t suck their thumb, you will breastfeed on demand, you will turn them every night so they don’t get a flat head. They won’t watch TV until they are eight, and only then educational, G-rated programs. They will never own a computer game, never use a mobile phone, never get any piercings, and you will not allow a single piece of commercially branded rubbish (like Dora or Disney) enter your house.

Your child will be a Nobel Prize winner.


When you have your second child, your toddler is the center of the universe. You have forgotten all the ‘baby’ stuff, and can only dwell on your pregnancy at night when the toddler is sleeping. You are unable to sleep during the day because the toddler has just dropped their nap. You look like you are six months pregnant by the time you hit the second trimester. You feel harassed and yell a lot. You love the nausea and vomiting because it means you get five minutes to yourself in the bathroom. You eat your toddlers leftovers, try to abstain from alcohol, and remember to take your vitamins sometime in the middle trimester. It feels like it will never end.

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You are pissed off with information and advice. People feel compelled to tell you their horror stories about toddlers locking the baby in the cupboard. You forget to attend half your obstetrician appointments. You get a few cards in the mail from friends and family, but no parties.

People who have finished child-bearing start dumping all their old baby stuff on you. Whether you want it or not. People are mildly interested in you. They tell you how big your bump is and how swollen your ankles are. Everyone asks if it’s your first and when you say ‘no’ they look disappointed and walk away.

Related: 15 Differences In Raising Your First & Second Child

You drag What to Expect off the shelf and leave it in the loo for the two minutes you get to yourself each day. You start reading your parenting magazines and online forums for advice about siblings and making the transition easy on your toddler. You unceremoniously dump your toddler out of the cot and tell them they are now a ‘big girl’ in a bed. You throw out some broken toys, re-wash the crib sheets, buy some new wall stickers and a box of newborn diapers. The nursery is now done. You look at all the harnesses, slings, and bouncers from your first baby, most of which are still in the box, and consider using them this time. Your toddler has taken all the special plugs out of the empty power sockets and is still alive, so you don’t replace them. The poisons are under the sink with a child-proof lock. The medicines are next to the wine and spirits above the fridge, easily accessible for only those over five feet.

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You rewash the old baby clothes in your normal detergents, throwing out the ones which look totally dodgy. You buy a new packet of pacifiers and leave them near the crib. You’ll certainly need them. They will only watch TV when you are really tired, really grumpy or trying to make dinner. You consider Netflix to be an investment in your sanity. You will try and wait until they are three before they get a computer game. They will never get any piercings. Dora and Disney toys are an accepted part of life.

Your child will finish high school.

You forget all about birth plans and look forward to your time in hospital as a break from the chaos at home. You leave the scented candles at home, and instead pack your laptop because you plan to Facebook your entire hospital stay. You have new pajamas, but only because the other ones haven’t fit for over two years. You don’t care how the baby comes out, but you are wondering whether you will be able to breastfeed as passionately as you did last time, and buy a pump and some bottles, just in case. And some formula. 


When you have your third child, you have a pre-schooler and a toddler both claiming they are the center of the universe. Loudly. You don’t even realize you are pregnant until you figure out the reason you have gained 20 pounds in four weeks is not solely due to all the playgroup morning teas. You look like the living dead and have learned to nap with your eyes open when you are meant to be watching ballet lessons or swimming lessons. You look like you are six months pregnant by the time you walk out of the bedroom. You only stop yelling when you are asleep, and when you are asleep you snore.

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You carry around Target bags to vomit into, and throw them out with the dirty diapers. You eat your main meal at morning tea, and snack on Ritz throughout the rest of the day. If your kids won’t eat vegetables or salad, why the hell should you? You don’t even bother trying to abstain from alcohol but it tastes like crap and instead drink a half gallon of chocolate milk every day. You take a box of pregnancy vitamins the day you find out you are pregnant and forget about it for the rest of the pregnancy. You are able to redefine ‘eternity’ based on the endless questioning from your pre-schooler about whether ‘the baby will come today?’.

No one even bothers offering you information and advice. People either think you are crazy or irresponsible. Everyone assumes it was an ‘accident’. Old women get huffy with you at Target when you are pushing around a cart with a screaming toddler, a pre-schooler, three bunches of bananas, and four tubs of ice cream. People feel compelled to tell you their horror stories about middle children who wind up being axe murderers. Or politicians. You see your obstetrician for the first time the day the baby arrives. You get a few looks of sympathy from friends and family, but no parties or cards.

People who have finished child-bearing return to work, lose weight and look glamorous and well-rested. They have nothing for you but pity. People are disgusted by you. You are disgusted by you. Everyone asks if it’s your first and when you say it’s your third, they laugh hysterically and walk away.

Related: Yes, You Should Have a Third Child

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You have given your baby books away, and can’t afford magazine subscriptions any more. You read celebrity magazines at the checkout hoping to be inspired for another name. When you start considering Wednesday Apple, you realize you are seriously scraping the bottom of the barrel. You force your toddler out of the cot, take away their pacis and try and toilet train them in a weekend.When that backfires, you buy another crib, another change table and some locks for the doors. You start arguing with the pre-schooler about who is the ‘biggest big sister,’ because you know she really means ‘best’ big sister.

You drag out an open box of newborn diapers from under the stairs. The nursery is now done. You take all the harnesses, slings, and bouncers from your first baby, which are still in the box, and trade them for a wine fridge. You ask the older children to try and not kill the baby. There are no poisons under the sink because you haven’t cleaned the house in years. The medicines are next to the wine and spirits, in your bedside table.

You look at the crusty old baby clothes and figure that the baby can just be nude for its first few years of life. You buy three packets of dummies and pack them in the hospital bag. You install a TV in each of the kid’s rooms. They won’t get any piercings until they are at least twelve. You have bought shares in Dora and Disney and are the only reason you can afford the third child.

Your child will attend kindergarten.

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You take a list of all the drugs you want when you are in hospital and look forward to your time in there because you won’t have to cook for anyone. You pack a family size box of chocolates and some ear plugs. You have new pajamas, but only because you haven’t done any washing in months.

This baby will come out eventually, it doesn’t matter how, or when. That bit was never important anyway.

This baby will make you realize how much love the human heart is capable of. You look at your older children with fresh eyes, and realize how painful it is to be away from them. You will look at your husband and be grateful for three precious gifts he has given you, and forgive him for (almost) everything else. Your life will be hectic and crazy and loud and full of shouting and frustration and love. You will have even more of those special experiences, even more of those breathtaking moments.

You will finally be complete.

You hope.

About the writer

Shannon Meyerkort is a writer, blogger and mother of three girls under seven. Her love of writing isn’t simply because you get to do it sitting down. When she isn't doing the school-run or making vegemite sandwiches, you can probably find her writing at the kitchen table. Follow her blog Relentless or find her on Facebook. You can also buy her book, The Brutal Truth About the Third Child, on Amazon. If you want to know the truth, that is.


nandi 1 month ago

so true, I can definitely relate

lily 2 months ago

The author of this article is a whack-job. Oh, and probably angry at the world and jealous at all the parents who have one or two children or none. Well, nobody told you to get yourself pregnant a third time, so deal with it! By the way, ever heard of abstinence? Or even birth-control?

Sam 3 months ago

I am expecting number three and have been somewhat down about it (even though it was planned.) This was beyond awesome and amazingly true. I cannot wait to experience the next chapter after reading this. Seriously this rocked.

Shay 3 months ago

This article just made me cry I was laughing so hard (and relating so much), as a mom of 2, considering #3 this hits close to home. Thanks for the honesty and the laugh.

grandma of 12 , great grandma of soon to be number 9 3 months ago

thats why you need number four next year to keep number 3 busy

Sha 3 months ago

I have 3 kids, and i can totally relate to this! Did i wrote this article? LOL to the nth power! hahaha
Nice job Shannon

Ana 4 months ago

Wow, I am halfway through my 3rd (and last!!!!!!!) pregnancy and after reading this I am laughing, I am crying , I am a hormonal mess. This defies my life to a T! I am so thankful someone out there can relate. Growing up with 3 sisters I always envisioned my children being the same, flash forward, here I am mother of 2 boys and even though in 2 weeks we will find out the gender of baby number 3, I am just thankful for healthy pregnancies. Yes after being pooped, peed, vomited, on and the many more times to come, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. For they are my world . Thank you for this uplifting article.

Christine 4 months ago

I’m laughing so hard there are tears streaming down my face and I’ve peed my pants!

sorry newbies but ….THIS IS ALL SO TRUE!!! I’ve had three and the third one was an “I’M PREGNANT????”. The meds and drink at the night table…priceless. My 3 are now over 24 yrs old and I survived!

Boy, those commenters who castigated you need to go have a glass of wine…sheeshhh….lighten up…. of course she’s embellishing. It’s a column for levity!

Monica 4 months ago

I guess only a few of us didn’t think this article was funny. What a pessimistic way of looking at being pregnant with 3 childr….. WAIT! There it is! Forget the pit of despair the article describes as your third pregnancy, every kid is as awesome as the last! Thank goodness for that last paragraph.

Kathy 4 months ago

I was laughing out loud. I only had one child, but I’m the oldest of seven. This was so true.

Patricia 4 months ago

My sister was 3 when I was born, and my brother 15 months. So, basically my Mother had 3 children in slightly over 3+ years. Grocery shopping included one in the seat, one in the cart and one on the back of the cart. I don’t know if that is allowed anymore. We are all very close still after 50 years, our own best friends. And we view our Mother as a Saint!

Kim Tanti 4 months ago

My hubby and I never prevented having children. It took 3yrs. before the first then another 4yrs. for the second. Then 16yrs later I thought it was the change and boy what a change. WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WONDERFUL. I had my 3 at 43.

Krysta 4 months ago

I love this article so much. I’m a mom of 2 boys who are 13 months apart and a baby girl. Adjusting to 3 was tough and hectic but I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

Laura 4 months ago

This is a great story… As a mom of three who has been there, done that, had the tshirt and then burned it this really really sums it up!!

Casey 4 months ago

Such a cute read. I love the “you will not even try to abstain from alcohol” and “Everyone assumes it was an accident”. So true!! The third is a crazy addition but one we could never imagine life without.
Thank you for this article!

Laura 4 months ago

I had 4 kids in 6.5 years. I would fold clothes while sitting in driveway to keep an eye on kids playing. I heard about a neighbor commenting on my daily wardrobe of jeans and old t shirt. Left #4 on school playground once when walking home with my kids and their friends and we all had to run back to school to get her! 7 years after #4 we had #5 child! At that point you introduce them by their name and birth order. It was a crazy time, but the best days of my life. Youngest is now soon to 17 and I’m a grandma!

Paula 4 months ago

My third one landed me in ICU waiting on a lung transplant a week after his birth. He tried to kill me, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world!

Debs 4 months ago

My children are all grown now and yet I can still relate to this article! Three boys under six was tough and the pregnancies….well! First, can’t wait, second, eager..ish, third…whenever, it’ll never be convenient! I’d never change a thing though, enjoy the chaos and mostly the love and wonder three children give you x

Megan 5 months ago

This article was too funny. I felt that way with my second child. Now I’m 11 weeks with #3. I just feel thankful that I did not give their baby things away. At this point, I could care less what others think 3 or more is normal in my area. My 6 and 4 year old are in school, so this feel like the first over again. Free time for a short while. Thank you God.

Yasin 5 months ago

Thanks for your thshtugo. It’s helped me a lot.

Olivia 7 months ago

Thank you for this one. :) Just had my third a couple months ago. Would write more, but I need to go clean up the toddler poo on the floor before it gets tracked around.

Daniele 7 months ago

Read the post; it is horrible ; I’m sorry for the person who wrote it; I’m expecting my third child , I’m 7 mths; and I feel confident to say that is nothing like that, doctors have treat me the same way as my first one, no one ever judge me; I’m feel great and way more confident…

Vannesa 8 months ago

With happy tears (from laughter and a bit of panic) in my eyes, I say thank you thank you thank you for writing this. :)

Mrs 8 months ago

About to be a mother of 3 and I am extremely terrified. Thank you for this. Really needed the laughs and comforting.

Mary D 8 months ago

You are amazing. This is the first blog I can relate too. I am 40 years old and just found out I am 4 weeks pregnant. Yikes was my first thought. Then oh crap!!! But we are happy. My oldest is 15 my youngest 2. …. so this will be fun. Thank you for the blog. I actually smiled a lot. … while reading my ritz Sincerely, Mary

chez 8 months ago

Thank you so much for writing this you don’t know how much hope you gave me and laughter lol thank you

Aisling Ozdemir 8 months ago

You are able to redefine ‘eternity’ based on the endless questioning from your pre-schooler about whether ‘the baby will come today?’. I love this! I’ll be following your blog… I have 3 boys under 7 so I feel your pain… my blog is

Broome 11 months ago

Mother of two wishing for a third. Best genuine laugh I’ve had in a long time. Thanks!

Antonia Cover 12 months ago

I love this!!!! made me laugh the whole way through! had to send the link to a friend for some daytime humor too. Really great article…all very true hahahaha xx

Kristina 1 year ago

This was great. I found out we’re expecting #3. Yesterday. I have an 18m and 3 y/o. I actually cried reading this. Hormones? Or the fact it’s true?

Cassandra 1 year ago

Loved reading this!! Every single bit is so true! I laughed so much. Pregnant with #3, and already a zoo in my house just with my 2 toddlers. By the time baby is born my son will have just turned 2 and and daugher just turn 4. I will wait for the birth this time to discover the sexe of the baby. I’m feeling anxious yet exited to meet this baby!

Christina 1 year ago

This was the best thing I’ve read all day. This made me feel a lot better

Anita 1 year ago

Absolutely spot on! Hilarious! Am a week away from giving birth ( to son no.3 ) This article made me laugh so hard I think I started to go into early labour!! ( and almost pee my pants. ) Thanks for brightening my day! :)

Rebecca Noriega 1 year ago

I am pregnant with my third child, due in July. My oldest will be three in August and my middle turned one in January. I definitely understand the ‘crazy’ looks that people give you. No one believes it is planned. Even though this is the ONLY child we planned. I was able to stay strong and breastfeed both my kids. But, man, do I wish they would have taken pacifiers!!! 3 under 3 for a whole year. I am NOT ready 😛

tiffany 1 year ago

So negative.. not at all how i looked at my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies. Whoever wrote this needs to be checked for postpartum depression cause this is not normal at all.. and in no way funny or amusing. I get the whole “each pregnancy gets harder” thing, but this is not healthy to feel about your pregnancy or children. Just saying.

Ginger 1 year ago

love this, I have 3 boys all under 5 and very much of this is true and a fun read.

Jamie 1 year ago

My oldest turned twice today, my second turned 8 last October, my third, well, he’ll be 1 in March…with this age difference my girls are very helpful…but this was still true

windy 1 year ago

Thank you for writing this. Now I feel normal knowing that I’m not alone in this situation. :)

Jush 1 year ago

I loved how you were able to put all the emotions in writing beautifully! I am just 4 weeks pregnant with our 3rd baby and I’m already head-over-heels in love with this tiny amazing thing! Each pregnancy was so unique with all my stories about emergency caesarian and a failed vbac and probably a repeat CS this time but all in all, I gladly would go through each and every bit of pain just to hold them close to my heart and know that baby is always ok. Kids are blessings! There are times I get really scared, but somehow after reading this, I feel ready and excited once again! Thank you! :-)

Amy 1 year ago

its a funny article but i purposely spaced my children far enough apart so that none of this stuff really applies.. as in 7 yrs ++ so that the older child can be of help and each pregnancy would feel special and not chaotic. i cant imagine why people have children so close together and want to put such stress on themselves with more than one in diapers but to each his own! 😉

    Rebecca Noriega 1 year ago

    I decided to have my kids close together. But mainly because I had no siblings myself and want my kids to be close enough in age that they may find some stuff in common. I lucked out that my oldest potty trained almost on her own. But my younger two will both be in diapers. *sigh*

Anna2819 1 year ago

Ugh. So many Americans who are totally ignorant that nobody else speaks their totally strange, weird version of English. Educate yourselves! Become worldly and less ignorant!

Why do we all have to change our spelling and vocabulary to suit you when you never cater to every other English-speaking country?! It annoys me that the writer of this article felt the need to change it for Americans.

Lori Nickerson 1 year ago

LOL – sums it up…..

Layla Oates 1 year ago

It’s funny because it’s true. I wish I’d thought of trading in unused baby crap for a wine fridge

Nikki Gregory Boerst 1 year ago

Oh Laura Welch Carpenter! No, no, no!

Jan Olin McMullen 1 year ago

It’s THE BEST EVER! Your life will be blessed in ways you never thought possible!!! The only thing I would have done differently would have been to have yet the 4 th!

Lisa-Jade Melbourne 1 year ago

Well that has definitely made my mind up!!!!

Amy Sebreros 1 year ago

This one is my fav ☺️

Rebecca Thoumie 1 year ago

Phew…. I dodged that bullet

Susan Lee Boyle 1 year ago

Not likely!!

Susan Lee Boyle 1 year ago

Dear god!

Lisa Ricci-Mack 1 year ago

I do drink a lot of wine

Heather Young 1 year ago

Baby #3 was my only girl and she’s a clefty so it was a whole new ball game for us, bow and sparkles, special bottles, and surgery plans. She was the one I planned to ebf and that didn’t happen, so all my expectations went out the window! Couldn’t be happier!


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