The Overlooked Joys of a Third Child

When we were dating, my husband told me he wanted thirteen children. He wasn't entirely serious, of course, and I was already in my late twenties when we married, but we figured we'd have at least several children if God allowed it.

Yet in Western culture, once you have two children, few people expect you to have another, especially when you already have a son and daughter. Our culture isn't as extreme as Orson Scott Card imagined in his futuristic novel Ender's Game--where "third" is a derogatory term for the third child in a family, but our culture does view a third child as an extra expense--requiring upsizing one's car (due to carseat requirements), possibly adding on a bedroom (because fewer siblings now share a room), and paying more for family vacations (since hotel room occupancies and vacation packages are designed for families of four).

A Blue Sunday Family Portrait by  Pierre

A Blue Sunday Family Portrait by Pierre

Life by  Will Folsom

Life by Will Folsom

But my husband and I have never viewed family planning as a financial decision. This isn't Life, the board game, where children pay off financially at the finish line and the richest person wins. Instead, children are a blessing in far more meaningful ways, regardless of which way they ultimately cause the financial scales to tip. They're incredible young people learning to navigate life, and in the process of parenting them, we're challenged and transformed for the better. My husband and I believe each child is a unique gift designed by God, and we're grateful for each of these gifts.

So here we are, one month in to this transition to life with our third child, and it's been even more delightful than I expected. I feel a bit like a grandparent this time--not that I'm feeling elderly, but I'm far enough into the parenting journey to know that time truly does pass quickly and this little one will grow into an incredible person before Iong. Yes, the journey is challenging, but it's marked with incomparable joys. 

Our three kiddos

Our three kiddos

As for the fact that this little one is our third child, well, our five-year-old daughter adores this baby as much as we do, and she's delighted to hold him whenever possible. When she's not holding him, she's playing with our three-year-old son, leaving more moments for me to sit and marvel at our baby boy. He's a delight, even in this newborn stage when such attentiveness and care is required. A child is simply an amazing gift--whether he or she is the first and only child or the thirteenth, and I'm so grateful.