I remember the day we brought our third child home from the hospital. It was a memorable afternoon snuggling with our newborn and introducing him to his big sister and big brother. I remember the older siblings’ excitement in meeting this sweet, precious baby. My eldest couldn’t stop looking at him and hugging him and asking to hold him. My daughter, who was not quite 2 at the time, followed the baby and I around. She would copy whatever I was doing. If I would change his diaper, she would change her baby doll’s diaper. If I rocked the baby, she would rock her baby. My husband was given a generous amount of parental leave so we spent those first few days enjoying our freshly expanded family with little concern for anything else.
A Bumpy Ride
Yes, a family of five felt wonderful. This bliss, however, was short-lived as my eldest came down with a mild case of pneumonia. He hadn’t been feeling well for a few days and my husband and I were both concerned. Friday afternoon brought a doctor’s visit and multiple prescriptions. As my son began breathing treatments, I noticed my daughter tugging at her ears. Then she developed a fever. Sunday afternoon was spent in the after-hours clinic followed by antibiotics and an ear infection diagnosis. Now I was really worried about my newborn baby. We did our best to keep the older children away from him, but he got sick as well. He tested positive for RSV at 2 weeks old!
Little did I know that this was just a taste of what was ahead. The cycle of sicknesses lasted forever! A child would get sick, 2 days later another, 2 days later another! I started tracking our sick days on a calendar hopeful it wasn’t as bad as it felt. I stopped. It was as bad as I thought.
Those first few weeks and months were quite bumpy as we adjusted to life with three children! Figuring out car seat arrangements was insane! Learning new nap schedules and getting the baby to sleep, somewhere other than my arms, were all so difficult. Getting everyone dressed and ready and loaded in the car took concentrated effort and teamwork. It was survival mode for a very long time as we struggled to find our new normal.
Shouldn’t We Know What We’re Doing?
My husband and I were both very shocked at how long this process was taking. “It’s our third baby after all”, I thought. “We should know what we’re doing!” As my son approaches his second birthday, I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. We have found a new rhythm as a family of five and are starting to truly enjoy our moments together. It didn’t happen overnight and it came through many mistakes and sleepless nights. Lots of sleepless nights.
Ironically, the turning point came, long before our circumstances changed, when a seasoned mom of three boys shared these words: It takes at least a year to find a new normal after having a baby. Every. Time.
Every time a child is added into the picture, the ENTIRE family will need at least a year to get a handle on the changes that come with the new addition.” When this sage advice sunk in, everything changed! Well…every thing did not change but my perspective had a major overhaul. I learned to live in grace as I now understood that every member of the family, not just my husband and I, needed to adjust to our new addition.
I’d like to invite you to join me in the coming weeks as I share some tips I’ve learned and advice I’ve heeded. I’ll share with you the mistakes we made along the way and share experiences and stories from others on this same journey of finding a new normal after the addition of a new family member.
Read the next post here! Finding A Rhythm
In the meantime, join the conversation! What is one thing that surprised you about bringing home a baby, or fostering or adopting? Did age of the child or number of children already present in the home change what it was like? Comment below!
photo credit: Captured Photography by Emily