When my first child was born, I remember walking dreamily around the hospital room telling a friend that I couldn’t believe something so perfect had come out of me. Objectively, this was not true – kid was a weird looking baby. He was super scrawny, and the first time my sister saw him, she squeaked ‘he looks like an alien!’
(she wasn’t wrong)
Maybe because of the persistent anxiety that defined this pregnancy, or because they were whisked away in incubators while I still felt too shaky from the c-section to touch them, or because two babies is a lot of baby – I didn’t have that this time. I have felt fierce, and protective, and grateful, and scared. But a couple days ago, I looked at my two daughters and said to them ‘I love you so much!’ and was surprised to realise that it was the first time the phrase had come naturally to me.
I learned I was having twins ten months ago, and today, I still struggle to believe that I have three kids – even with all three of them in front of me, it doesn’t seem real. I am still recalibrating my life as a parent – this isn’t the family I imagined, and the third kid is the hardest part. And to be clear, are all the third kid: Theo, when he runs into the bedroom at 6:30 on the nose to ask if he can watch Paw Patrol; Daphne, when she screams because she’s starving but the boob is RIGHT THERE; Fiona, when…well, she’s actually a pretty chilled out baby but she definitely has her moments. I want all three of these kids, but I didn’t want three kids, and I’m still mourning the vision I had for my family, even as I feel myself falling more and more in love with what I actually have.