Many couples dream of having large families with three or more children, but often they regret it when that dream becomes a reality.
After all, children are hard work, and when the exhaustion from the sleepless nights starts to set in, you may regret having a third child.
You are not alone.
There are plenty of other parents out there who feel the same way as you do.
Here are the five most common reasons you might regret having a third child – as well as some advice on how to regret it less and enjoy the experience more.
Regret Having a Third Baby? Here Are 5 Possible Reasons Why
Having three children is challenging (I am the middle child of three), and there are 5 reasons why you might regret having a third baby.
1. You’re Outnumbered
You’re outnumbered as soon as you add a third child to your family dynamic.
This shifts the balance in favor of children, and it’s harder to equitably divide and conquer household tasks as one parent will always have more than 50 percent of the responsibilities.
Children quickly learn to take advantage of the situation, and chaos will ensue.
It’s harder to keep up with the children, chores, work, and each other when you’re outnumbered, and this power dynamic is one of the most common reasons parents regret having a third child.
2. Takes Attention Away From Other Children
Similarly, you and your partner have learned to split your attention equally amongst your children, making sure they feel special and spending important one-on-one time to strengthen your bond.
However, that balance will shift once you add another child to the mix.
You will feel guilty about the new baby taking attention away from the other children, mainly because you’ll often be too stressed or tired to do the same activities you used to with your other children.
Mommy or Daddy and me outings will be a thing of the past until you get a handle on the new baby and how they fit into your life.
3. Three Kids Is Expensive
Children are expensive, and adding a third child to your home can be costly, especially if there’s an age gap or a different gender.
You will have to buy all new things if you’ve already purged from your last pregnancy.
And on top of that, there are doctor’s visits, food, diapers, daycare costs, and much more.
This will add more expenses, which can stress your family, especially if your budget was stretched thin before the child.
Despite being so small, babies take up a lot of space. You need space to care for and entertain your baby properly, from their crib to their clothes, toys, and everything in between.
What may have felt cozy will start to feel cramped as you add a new human to the mix.
Additionally, you may need to shift the living arrangements to ensure your baby has a nursery.
If this is the case, you may feel even more guilt that your first or second-born has to lose their room to make space for the new baby.
5. Negatively Impacts Your Marriage
Children are a gift but can harm your and your partner’s relationship. As soon as you have children, your relationship changes.
The love you feel for each other makes way for a new type of love, which can overwhelm your relationship if you don’t protect your marriage.
This is on top of the financial stress, emotional turmoil, and general exhaustion of everyday life, and it can start to crack an otherwise solid foundation of your marriage.
To preserve your marriage, you may start to schedule date nights, intimacy, and other moments to ensure you have time for each other on top of your growing family.
How to Regret Less
Just because you’re starting to succumb to the stress of a third child doesn’t mean that you should wallow in regret.
Instead, there are ways that you can shift your perspective.
Not every moment will be filled with wonder and positivity, but you can change your approach to help you regret having a third child with each day.
Relish in the Last Firsts
Your third child will likely be your last, so take extra time to enjoy and appreciate the last firsts – all of those milestones that mark your child’s development.
Don’t rush through them just because you are tired or feeling guilty; instead, take a moment to appreciate them, just as you did with your firstborn.
Enjoying these special moments will help you feel present in your child’s development and help you to appreciate every day that they grow up.
There will be the last time they want to cuddle with you or run into your arms, so appreciate it while it lasts.
Enjoy the Company
Children grow up to be well-rounded when other children surround them. It helps their development, and they learn how to:
- and all sorts of other essential life skills.
When you have a third child, this only helps your other children to become properly socialized.
They will always have built-in buddies to play with and confide in. They can have living dolls to experiment on.
Your children will always have a companion outside of you that they can rely on – and get in trouble with.
So, while it can be exhausting, having three or more children can also be enriching. You might even learn to love babies!
Five is Still Manageable
Being a family of five may be daunting, but it’s still manageable.
Most cars comfortably fit five people, so you may not even have to upgrade when you have a third child! This is the same with your home, even if your children have to share a room.
Having a third child is a big decision you shouldn’t take lightly, but you and your partner can learn to manage with patience and time.
Having an older brother, sister, or one of each will also help raise your new baby. Although, that could add to mental and physical stress too.
You will learn to regret having three children less and appreciate your new family in no time. Things will be easier once you get out of the baby years and the toddler stage!
Your New Baby Should be Easier
You may regret your third baby, but you should take solace that the third time should be easier because you now have more experience! Not only that, but there are additional benefits, such as:
- Fewer baby clothes to buy (if you kept them from your other two kids)
- You can get your first or second child to look after the new baby (when possible, but you are still responsible)
If you remember your first baby and are like me, you would have been worried! Now you are much more experienced with baby number 3, which means the who process should be easier.
Emotional and Psychological Challenges
Raising a third child comes with its fair share of emotional and psychological challenges that can often go overlooked. Imagine juggling the needs of multiple little ones, each with their unique personalities and demands.
It’s a delicate balancing act that requires patience, understanding, and a lot of energy.
As a parent, you want to give each of your children the love and attention they deserve, but with a third child, that becomes increasingly difficult. The reality is that there are only so many hours in a day and so much energy to go around.
The guilt of not being able to give each child the individual attention they crave can weigh heavily on a parent.
But it’s not just the guilt that can take a toll on your emotions. The added stress and fatigue of caring for a new baby can be overwhelming. The constant feeding, changing, and soothing demands can leave you drained and exhausted.
Those precious moments of peace become a distant memory, and you find yourself running on autopilot to get through the day.
The impact on your relationships can also be significant. Being a parent is a demanding job, and when you have a third child, it can feel like you’re spread thin. It can be easy to neglect your relationship with your partner or older children.
This can lead to isolation and frustration and even strain your relationship.
But perhaps the most challenging aspect of raising a third child is its impact on your mental and physical well-being.
The constant demands and lack of time for self-care can leave you feeling burnt out and emotionally depleted. It’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is crucial to your ability to care for your children.
All these emotions and challenges can make you question whether having a third child was the right decision. But it’s important to remember that the decision to have a child is not one that can be undone, and it’s okay to feel a range of emotions.
The good news is that with self-care and support, you can work through these challenges and find joy and love in your growing family.
Having more than one child is a challenge. You already know that from your second baby. Having a third baby is a whole new ball game! That’s the start of a big family.
It is up to you to ride it out until things become a little easier. I found with my kids, it got easier as they were able to communicate a little better. So now I can’t imagine life without them all!
If your third baby was a ‘surprise,’ the regrets might be stronger. If you actively decided to have a third baby, hopefully, it will allow you to prepare more.
Good luck! You may wish for another baby when you have an empty nest!