Regret Having a Third Child? (11 Most Common Reasons)

three girls walking towards the beach

Have you been giving some thought to having a third child? If you’re honest you may wonder if you’ll regret having a third? Or you might already have one and now you’re lamenting the decision?

This is the dilemma my sister faced when she considered her third baby. I have learned a lot from her case and I also found a lot of information on online forums, such as mumsnet, reddit, quora. Let me share my findings with you. 

There’s a lot at stake here. If you make the wrong decision, before a child’s birth, you might set yourself up for many years of negative emotions. If you already have a third, you might keep thinking about this topic without finding some solace by realizing that you’re not alone. 

So, here’s my post for your benefit.

11 Common Reasons for Regretting a Third Child

Here are the most common reasons my sister and other parents in online forums have shared. Which of these may apply to you? 

1. Chances of a Health Condition with the third

Most women are fortunate enough to carry a pregnancy full term without any complications. However, with each pregnancy, there’s always the risk of complications. Some factors that can contribute to a difficult third pregnancy include age, current health, the physical stress of additional pregnancies and genetic diseases

The risk of passing on genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis increases with each pregnancy. Surveys have shown that 1 in 150 babies are at risk of being born with chromosomal conditions. The risk increases with each pregnancy. If there were ever concerns from your medical practitioner, it’s important to discuss your thoughts about a third pregnancy with your doctor.

2. Less Time for Yourself

If you find yourself craving some much-needed me-time with just two little rascals, you need to know upfront that your me-time will be even less with three children! This includes extra sacrifices you’ll have to make in terms of your career and time with friends. 

Having less time for yourself includes a drastic change in your sleeping schedule until all the infants are past the toddler years. Here and there you might be able to save a bit of time, e.g. by using my ideas when taking a shower with a baby or toddler around, but overall, hobbies, personal interests will have to move to the back burner for a considerable amount of time! 

3. Less Time to Devote to Your Other Two Kids

Dealing with a new baby means you’ll have less time to devote to your other two kids. This can be challenging if they’re still toddlers. It might be difficult for them to understand why they aren’t getting as much attention as before. 

Nursing a newborn and dealing with two fussing toddlers can be quite challenging. Depending on the ages of the other two children, it might be wise to wait till they’re out of the infant and toddler years. Amending your planning to make handling three kids easier might be a good idea!

Also, when one considers the first point raised above, the health condition of your third child can make this situation even more challenging. The same concern applies to behavioral problems. It’s imperative parents mentally prepare for the possibility of these scenarios if they do have three children. 

4. Higher Cost of Living

A third mouth in your house equals a change in your monthly expenses. More food, more baby supplies, more toys, more of everything! Your budget will have to be tightened even further. This can be stressful if you haven’t planned for it. 

It’s important to be realistic in this area if you’re still in the planning stages. However, don’t overthink this point too much or else you might feel you’ll never be financially stable to care for another child. 

5. Too Tired for a Third Child

One of the biggest factors to consider when contemplating your third baby is the exhaustion that goes along with it. On average 35 percent of pregnant mothers could be at risk of exhaustion caused by iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can also lead to premature deliveries and a reduction in mothers’ milk production. Exhaustion is a major symptom of iron deficiency. 

This was the instance with my sister. At times it can leave a mom feeling too tired to give her little one the attention they deserve. If you’re prone to lower iron levels, talk to your doctor about supplements and nutritional changes to boost your iron levels. 

To get a better understanding of how an iron deficiency affects your body during pregnancy, watch this short clip!

6. FOMO Instead of Thinking Realistically

Some people believe that as you grow older you’ll succumb to some misguided reverse regret of not having a third child. Let me tell you if the reason you want to have another baby stems from an unrealistic sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), then you’ll most definitely end up with regrets!

Never have children to appease the trends of your friends or family. Choose what’s best for you and your particular situation. What works for others might not work for you. Everyone’s family dynamic is different. Your assessment should be realistic and objective.

7. Space Becomes a Factor

In most situations, a family of four easily fits into most homes or apartments. The addition of another little one means less space for everyone. For instance, if you live in a three-bedroom house, two of the children will have to share a bedroom. If you do need to move, the stress of moving adds more stress to the new chapter of your life.

Consider factors such as your car as well. Is your car big enough for three children? Take into account strollers, car seats, diaper bags for triplets, and everything else that goes along with three small children. 

8. Parents are Outnumbered

The thought of there being more little people than adults can leave you feeling outnumbered. You might even feel like they will have the upper hand. This feeling increases if all three children are very young and you have to control them all by yourself. 

With two children it’s easy for two parents to deal with them. One parent to one child. A third child changes that ratio. One parent taking all three kids to town becomes a challenge, as someone’s hand won’t be held by a parent. Watching three children in the supermarket can be challenging when you’re trying to do your shopping. 

9. Extra Housework

Don’t underestimate the additional workload one extra person can add to your already taxing house workload. Extra dishes, extra clothes, sheets and blankets to wash and a whole load of extra toys to pick up every evening! 

As the children get older you can teach them to pick up after themselves and give them chores for the housework, but for the first few years, it might be challenging. 

10. Added Stress

As a parent, you already have a mountain of stress to carry around with you every day. You worry about everything related to your children. That only gets worse as your children get older. 

A third baby would provide you with another little person to worry about. Everything from healthcare, school years, and the dreaded teenage years will become a threefold experience. 

In addition to stress about their well-being, there’s also the stress of how they’ll get along with each other. Will you manage three toddlers fighting over the same toys during playtime? How will you deal with them taking sides against each other? When there are three of them, one sibling might seem left out.

11. Pregnancy-Related Issues

Ask yourself how badly you want to experience the issues associated with pregnancy for a third time. I’m talking about morning sickness, strange cravings, swollen ankles and general discomfort. 

There are also issues such as pre and post-natal depression to consider. This can bear more weight if you have suffered from either of these conditions with your previous pregnancies. Of course, this time around, you’ll be doing it with two little children demanding your attention every second of the day! 

3 Common Reasons Not to Regret a Third Child

Considering a third pregnancy doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. With the correct and decisive planning and lifestyle changes, you’ll be able to pull it off. Let’s look at three of the most common reasons to consider a third baby. 

1. Kids Will Have More Than One Sibling

Having three kids means your children will have more than one sibling. Each child has two other little people who will always be at their side. It helps them grow their interpersonal relationships from a very early age. They learn to share, play together and learn to be considerate of others. Essentially, each child has two little friends for life. 

2. A Family of Five is Still Compact

If you look at the world around you, it might seem as though it’s designed for families of four. Vehicles and diner booths are only two examples that imply families of four just fit better. However, honestly speaking, a third child won’t change this dynamic too much. 

Depending on the ages and car seat requirements, most cars can easily accommodate three children. And you won’t have to bother about the restaurant booths too much because most restaurants have outdoor play areas where children would rather be anyway! 

3. You Can Re-Use Your Hand-Me-Downs and Baby Furniture

Unless your other two children are much older than your third baby, you might end up saving a lot of money by using their hand-me-downs. Baby clothes and accessories are very expensive and it can get very hectic with three little people in one space. 

Letting your smaller children use or share the items you’ve bought for the older children will save you a lot of money in the long run. This also works for furniture such as high chairs and cribs. Simply double check the expiry guidelines and safety guidelines on high chairs, cribs, Pack and Plays, and once you’ve made sure they’re still fine, you might want to reuse them with your new child.

Is It Worth Having a Third Child After All?

After consideration, there are good points on both sides of the argument. My research shows many parents are successfully taking care of three or even more children. So, if it’s what you really want, you can most certainly do it. 

While making your decision and dealing with the impact of having a third child, other people’s realities often help gain perspective. Here’s a video you can watch for some insight. 

My advice is to discuss it with your partner, and consider all the negative and positive factors. Draw up a list of the challenges you think you’ll face and assess their possible solutions

Then, if you’re still not sure if you should take the plunge and have baby number three, take a test. Check out my quiz on deciding if you should have a third child. It’ll certainly add further clarity to the subject!

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