I Went From 0-3 Kids in 13 Months—Here’s What I’ve Learned

0-3 kids in 13 months
Source: @meg.b.stone

You could say my introduction to motherhood was more than a little bumpy.  

My twin boys were born during the first global lockdown in 2020, when everyone was still sanitizing groceries and packages. They were only four months old and I had just started to peek my head out from the fourth trimester when I found out I was pregnant… again.  To say it was a shock would be an understatement, and yet, the very clearly-defined line on the pregnancy test confirmed it. 

Nine months later, we welcomed our baby girl into the world and also discovered she had a rare genetic disorder, causing disabilities and serious health concerns. Like I said, it was a bumpy start. 

Here are some of my lessons learned in becoming a mother of twins and a third baby in 13 months:

 

Everything is temporary

Nothing lasts forever when it comes to kids, the good OR the bad. The sleepless nights, the teething and the diapers… thankfully, they all come to an end.  

On the other hand, the wonderful periods when you feel like you’ve finally got it figured out come to an end too. Inevitably, just as you’ve hit your stride, your child will change.  They won’t like that snack anymore.  They don’t want to nap anymore. It’s all temporary, and the only constant is that nothing is constant. I’ve learned to find comfort in the constant change by soaking up the incredible, love-filled moments and remembering that the tougher times won’t last forever.  

 

twins with parents

Source: @meg.b.stone

 

You are a new you

Becoming a mother is a massive identity shift for any woman. All of a sudden you’re worried about nap times and diaper changes and feeding schedules, when all you used to worry about was what time you were meeting your friends for brunch.  

There are so many messages about “bouncing back” to your pre-pregnancy self after having a child. Well, I’m here to say: She doesn’t live here anymore.

After months of stressing about how I was going to get back to my pre-baby shape and how I was going to grow my business with three small children, I finally accepted this new version of myself and gave myself permission to let go of the old me.  

There’s a sense of relief in acknowledging that your life has massively shifted and that you get to change with it.   

Of course, there are pieces of your core identity that will never change. As someone who was abruptly thrown into the deep end of motherhood, I desperately wanted to hang on to those parts of myself, just to maintain my sanity and sense of self.  

What I found is that it was possible to find time for myself, but it took a lot more coordination and communication than in my pre-baby life. I had to learn to clearly communicate my needs and ask for help—not an easy task, thanks to the ever-present mom guilt—then I had to coordinate childcare to allow for that time to myself. It truly took a team of family members and paid help to achieve this. 

The lesson here is that it’s okay to step fully into your new role while still cherishing what makes you, you. 

 

Mothers are athletes

Before I had kids, I had no idea how physically and mentally demanding motherhood would be. And I’m not even talking about pregnancy, which is a whole other conversation.  

Carrying heavy car seats, wrestling kids for diaper changes, constantly lifting babies, and running after toddlers are just a few ways moms show their athleticism every single day.

After the birth of my daughter, I was physically wrecked. Back-to-back pregnancies had left me feeling incredibly weak, my back was in constant pain, and picking up my 1-year-old toddlers was getting harder and harder.  I also learned that moms don’t get sick days, and prioritizing my physical health suddenly became much higher on my to-do list.  

In addition, I realized the importance of my mental and emotional health. Whether it was managing the overstimulation of motherhood, navigating tantrums, or simply wanting to be an example for my kids, I learned that as mothers, our mental state is something we have to protect and nurture.  

I started to see my kids as a reason to take care of myself, rather than as an obstacle. I wanted to be in the right headspace to be present and create memories. I wanted to be strong enough to run, play, and be silly with them. They fueled my motivation to be the best version of myself, physically and mentally.    

 

family with three kids

Source: @meg.b.stone | Photographer: @torreyfox

 

If you feel like it’s hard, that’s because it is 

Before I had my kids, I was cocky. I thought the moms I knew just hadn’t “figured it out yet,” whatever that means. What was the big deal about skipping a single nap? Why couldn’t they make those last-minute happy hour plans? Why did it take so long to return a text? 

I think the universe decided to teach me a lesson by giving me three children, including one with a rare medical diagnosis, in 13 months. All I can say is: LESSON LEARNED.  

I remember advocating for my newborn daughter in the NICU while coming home to two rambunctious 1-year-olds and feeling completely overwhelmed, unsure of how I was going to make it through. Now I was the one who took three days to return a text. Happy hour was no longer in my vocabulary, and to even consider skipping a nap was a terrifying thought.  

My entire world became going to doctor appointments, trying to balance my energy while running around with my very active twin boys, and getting to know my daughter while trying to understand her complex medical needs. Honestly, it was the hardest time of my life. I look back at photos of that time and all I can see is how puffy my eyes are from stress, sleepless nights, and a lot of tears. 

Modern motherhood is not for the weak. If you feel like motherhood is hard, it is. If you feel like motherhood can be lonely, it can be. If you sometimes think about your pre-motherhood life and miss it, me too. If having children has been way more challenging that you thought it would be, you’re not alone.  

 

Modern motherhood is not for the weak. If you feel like motherhood is hard, it is.

 

We’re praised for “doing it all,” but that comes at a cost. Between the never-ending parenting advice on social media, the expectation that we pursue professional greatness while also being the default parent, the sensory overload, and the physical toll taken on our bodies, the price we pay is steep.  

What I will say is that once you become a mom, you have a crew for life. We’re all fighting battles and getting up to do the impossible every day. I take comfort in knowing that other moms have had similar experiences and that we’re all just doing the best we can. 

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