I had always planned to have two children, and it was a pretty breezy transition to go from one to two. So, ﬁnding myself pregnant with an unplanned third child was, in brutal honesty, more woe than joy, especially since my eldest was sitting for his PSLE and my other child was still in diapers.
However, one rainy afternoon, I found myself sitting on the toilet bowl, clutching a stick I’d just peed on. I was utterly stunned by the unmistakable double blue line. This unexpected baby news more or less put paid to my grand plans of launching a lifestyle photography business. Nonetheless, my husband and I quickly accepted the news in dizzy disbelief and reminded each other to count our blessings.
I didn’t itch to track our baby’s growth every week and even lost track of its gestation period a couple of times.
It’s true, by the way, when people say that third-time mothers-to-be tend to act “bo chap” (Hokkien for “being indifferent”). Unlike my previous pregnancies, I didn’t itch to track our baby’s growth every week and even lost track of its gestation period a couple of times.
Between organising activities to entertain a rambunctious toddler and helping a pre-teen prepare for his PSLE, the only prep I made for baby #3 was to make sure I never missed one of my prenatal foot massages. Of course, I also prayed for a healthy, happy, as well as a decent-looking baby!
Although our little amigo arrived two weeks early, our ﬁrst week at home as a family of ﬁve turned out well. Baby Jonas didn’t just eat well and sleep soundly, our two older kids were eager to help with their new baby brother. So, I thought I had it all ﬁgured out…
Click through to find out more about family life with the unexpected new arrival...
Photo: J Judisun Photography
Little did my husband and I know that our orderly life was about to go topsy-turvy with broken nights, endless feedings, a reﬂux-prone baby, a regressing toddler and a neglected tween. From round-the-clock nursing of a gassy baby who just couldn’t seem to keep his food down, to coaxing a stubborn toddler out of her intense daily meltdowns, the sheer exhaustion must have zapped 10 years off our lives. As if that wasn’t rough enough, my heart broke when I saw our eldest child’s forlorn glances after we’d said, for the 50th time, we couldn’t do something as simple as play a game of cards with him.
In the end, our baby spent most of his waking hours with our helper in the ﬁrst few months. Did we feel guilty? Every day. Would we have had it any other way? No, because that was the only way we could retain our sanity.
Right now, our rich life is messy, fun and mostly overwhelming, but we survive with our own brand of humour.
Thank heavens I’ve been blessed with a super hands-on father of our children: My husband, who attends meetings after having been up all night with a screaming toddler, readily takes over the night feeds, so that I can get an extra hour or two of shuteye.
Right now, our rich life is messy, fun and mostly overwhelming, but we survive with our own brand of humour. There are still days when I wish I could go back to being a mother of one or run off, on my own, to the hills of Ubud to “rebalance my senses”. Sometimes, I also miss having a full-time career — my idea of time-off from the kids!
But life with three children, has taught me (an annoying perfectionist) not to sweat the small stuff. With hindsight, the situation could have been worse, since I could be managing three very young kids who are very close in age. That would mean three times the fussing, three times the screaming and three times the drama!
Joyce J Chansingh, a freelance writer and photographer, is mum to Jonas, 2, Nadya, 4, and Keron, 13.
Photo: J Judisun Photography