As I sit down to write this post, I’ve been in the trenches for just over 11 weeks. By trenches, I mean the newborn trenches. For the third time.
Let me tell you, three kids is not for the faint of heart.
My older two – both boys – are 4 and 2. We welcomed their younger sister in mid-December, which is a chaotic time of year without a newborn. I’m no martyr. There are lots of women who have done this and have had much harder circumstances than I have. We are blessed. We have three healthy kids who are happy and have all the essentials they need.
But good Lord, this has been the hardest 11 weeks of my life.
People ask my husband and I how it’s going. Most of the time we politely smile and say “Good! Everyone is adjusting.”
What I have wanted to say, especially during weeks 3-8 was, “Horrible. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m miserable and hanging on by a thread.”
Some of our experience has been normal newborn, third baby stuff. Older kids acting out, sleepless nights, and finding out footing.
But there have been some things that want to make me throw my hands up and scream to God “I give up!” Like postpartum depression/anxiety that set in almost immediately and had me crying for days on end. I try to think back to January and I honestly don’t remember most of it.
Then there was the winter germs my older two brought home. From mid-December through mid-February, one of them was sick – like truly sick – each week. We had Scarlett Fever (I didn’t even know that was still a thing!), stomach flu, random fevers, and influenza. For good measure, we had two ER visits.
Our baby also has not been the easiest baby. We’ve dealt with gas, reflex, insane sleeplessness, and a lip tie/tongue tie issue. For the first month of her life, she wanted nothing to do with my husband, which only added to my exhaustion. I struggled to bond with her because I went days without more than 2 hours of sleep each night.
Oh – and then it was a horrible winter, negative temperatures, and the worst flu epidemic in a decade.
I’m about to get real honest with you. There were times that I wondered if we had made a mistake. If we took on too much. How we were EVER going to get through to the other side? Then the mom guilt would come, because what kind of mother would think that!? We wanted this – all three of our pregnancies were very much planned through endless fertility treatments.
When you are in the newborn trenches, it can be really, really hard to find perspective. Somehow, our hormones make us forget about how hard it was the first and second time. You think THIS baby is BY FAR the HARDEST OF THEM ALL. It can be lonely and isolating.
Then, one day, you start to find your footing.
You somehow manage to get a solid 4-hour block of sleep, the baby starts to act like an actual human, and your older kids adjust to the new normal. You make an actual dinner and leave the house wearing make-up. You venture out of the house alone with all three kids and everyone lives to tell about it. You start to feel normal.
For us, we’re finding my footing just as the snow melts and the temperatures warm up. This spring means so much more to us than just being happy to be outside again. We survived one of the toughest seasons we’ve had thus far and I can almost see my family blossoming just like the flowers will soon.
So, if you’re in the trenches and it seems like you’ll never find your way out, hang on.
You will find your footing and come out on the other side. Eventually you’ll look back and smile – although, I haven’t gotten quite that far yet.
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