In less than a month, our family is expecting a new arrival. All things going to plan, our four is set to become five.
On the brink of this impending chaos, I am ecstatic and terrified.
I still look around our home and find it astonishing that we live with a five year old and a three year old for whom we’re responsible. How did THAT happen? Wasn’t it only thirty seconds ago that I was pregnant for the first time? Blissfully obsessed — and unknowing — about the reality that lay ahead.
Third time around it is different. I am less fussed about many things. We have most of the stuff we need, we aren’t unfamiliar with newborns, we have a vague idea of what the next chapter will entail.
But plenty of mysteries persist. Will we have another girl or a boy? Who will they be? Who will they look like? When will they arrive? How will they fit into our family?
Each time I wonder, I am reminded that it’s been the same each time. Before we had one child, I couldn’t imagine what having a child would be like. Soon enough, I had forgotten what life was like before. Before we had two children, I couldn’t imagine what having two children would be like. And soon enough, I couldn’t imagine life with only one.
And so I find myself here again. In familiar but unchartered water. And my emotions are mixed.
I am filled with delicious anticipation. I can’t look at a small baby without my heart jumping out of my chest.
I am filled with fatigue. Working, growing a baby, settling a child into school, caring for a spirited toddler, rearranging the house to make room for our newest member, fitting in doctor appointments, blood tests and scans, amid all the usual goings-on of life… taking time out isn’t a readily available option.
I am filled with trepidation. Am I up to this task? Are we up to it?
I am filled with overwhelming gratitude. Having three children is something we have always hoped for and as each day passes, and that gets closer to being our reality, I am reminded how lucky we are. It’s not something to take for granted.
I am filled with fear. Will there be enough of me to go around?
I am filled with excitement. We are on the brink of meeting a little bundle who will transform our life. Who will steal our hearts. Who will complete our family. Whom we’ll meet soon.
Friday was my last work day before I retreat into the wilderness of home and family for a while. It’s a funny feeling. In some ways, of course, it’s welcome: an opportunity to wind down one part of life before another part ramps up. But in other ways it’s daunting.
It means leaving, for a time, a place that is social, engaging and fulfilling. A place where my life is, relatively speaking, more manageable.
As a working parent I am constantly reminded that I inhabit two parallel universes. At home, notwithstanding the love and fun, life is messy, unpredictable, loud and wild. At work, it’s different. It’s neat, predictable and invariably civilised. It’s an office filled with women, so it certainly isn’t quiet, and nor is it without demands, but it’s different.
Watch: Mamamia’s Editor-at-Large Jamila Rizvi talks about returning to work after the birth of her son. Post continues below.
For me — it’s the contrast between my two worlds that makes me tick. So walking away from a glorious place where no one yells at me, or requires me to feed them, with decent coffee nearby, with friendly and supportive colleagues, does pull at my heartstrings. I will miss it. A lot.
But I have decided there is a reward for the relative insanity of having a third child: it’s knowing that however the next few months unfold, at some point we will emerge from the baby bubble and somehow we’ll figure things out.
That’s the knowledge that brings me peace of mind as we peer into the coming chaos.