The Third-Child Dilemma

by Amy Ransom
Originally Published: 
having a third child
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“Should I have a third child, yes or no?” is the most popular search term on my blog every single day.

It’s the question so many of us out there are asking. It’s the question that is so difficult to answer unless you know for sure one way or the other.

I was there once. I sat on the fence agonizing over whether we should or we shouldn’t. It consumed me completely until we made the decision to go for it. So, I know what it’s like to feel confused. I also know what it’s like to read what feels like hundreds of insincere posts saying how chaotic and hellish having three kids can be. I’ve written a couple of them myself. The truth is, we only make these jokes because we can and like to laugh at ourselves. But it really isn’t that bad (all of the time).

So I’m going to tell you what it was like for me before I became pregnant with number three, and also how things changed afterward. I’m going to give you the positive encouragement I so desperately wanted from others: “Yes, you definitely should have a third child!” And I’m going to do it without making one single wisecrack. I promise.

My husband had always wanted three kids, but I hadn’t really thought much about it until I accidentally became pregnant when our second daughter was 11 months old. Initially, I was less than pleased, but I got my head around it and surprised myself by being quite excited. It felt like fate had intervened, so when I miscarried at 11 weeks I couldn’t have been sadder and more confused. What did that mean? An accident followed by a miscarriage? That we were never meant to have a third child? Suddenly, I wanted one more than anything.

I spent a grueling six months making myself, and everyone around me, miserable not knowing what to do for the best. But the promise of the third child had taken hold, and while I thought I had a choice, as with all matters of the heart, I really didn’t. So in the end we stopped thinking and made the decision with our hearts, not our heads. I fortunately became pregnant quickly, and nine months later we welcomed a baby boy into our female-dominated family.

Our little boy is now 18 months old, and there is not a day that goes by where we do not appreciate him. He has acquired the nickname, “Lovebug,” because he is such a bundle of love. And I absolutely cannot imagine our lives without him. We were meant to be a family of five.

I’m glad we followed our hearts, but I still remember what an unbelievably scary decision it is when you’re still in the land of two kids. It can feel risky, unnecessary, even greedy when you already have two healthy children. But if the idea of that third child is all-consuming, if you can’t let the thought go, if you feel that your family is missing someone, then maybe, just maybe, that’s because it is.

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