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I'm not sure what goes through people's minds when they hear my children are four, three, one, and seven months, but judging by their reactions, I think it's safe to say most people think we are crazy. I understand where they are coming from, and their reactions don't really bother me. Anymore that is.
When Lily was born(almost two years ago), I was scared to death. Jack was two and Anna was seventeen months. They were all still in diapers. I was worried about how I would handle not getting a full nights sleep when I already had to care for two toddlers. And with the exception of a few people, nobody had a positive thing to say about having three kids under the age of two. Almost every comment was negative. We were being asked everything from how we expected to manage all those kids to what we expected it to be like when they were all teenagers. That, coupled with the financial stress we were under at that time, made what would already be a tough transition much more difficult.
When Lily was eight months old I found out I was expecting Max. He was due in June, and that would mean we were going to have four children under the age of three. But I wasn't scared this time. Sure I had some normal anxiety, but truthfully I was excited. I couldn't wait to have a newborn in the house and to see how my older kids would react to him.
So what changed this time? Certainly not our finances. We were getting as many(if not more) negative comments as when we were expecting Lily. The only thing that was different this time around was that I chose to accept things as they were. I fully expected to be tired after I brought Max home. But I accepted it, and realized it was only going to last for a short time. I figured my older kids would have a tough time adjusting to the new baby. But instead of letting it make me feel guilty, I chose to plan little things I could do to reassure them of how much I loved them. Little things like giving Lily extra snuggles and encouraging her to about what an awesome big sister she was, reading to Anna while I was nursing Max, and cuddling with Jack while he watched one of his videos. Just simple little things to help make the transition easier for them.
And after my older three went to bed for the night, I just held and cuddled Max for the next few hours. The only time I wasn't holding him was when Erik wanted to hold him. Experience reminded us that in just a few short months Max would be going to bed at the same time the older kids were, and we would have our evenings to spend alone again.
Whether you are expecting your first baby or your tenth baby I think one of the most important things you can do is accept that things are going to be different and at times more difficult. Don't let fear and guilt overwhelm you. Instead, think of some strategies that will help make the transition smoother.