Preparing for the Worst: The Dread, and Joy, of Baby No. 3

I am a prepare-for-the-worst kind of girl. Whenever a big change is about to happen in my life, my thoughts turn to all the ways it could go wrong. I think it’s some kind of mental safeguard, so that if things really do go wrong, I will to some degree be mentally prepared.

I remember when Dave and I decided we were ready to get engaged. We were sitting in his 4-runner in the Wingers parking lot in Idaho Falls, we’d just decided we wanted to get married, and what did the conversation turn to? How hard marriage would be. I’m glad to report marriage has been a whole lot more fun than my prepare-for-the-worst mentality lead me to believe it would be.

So now fast forward to me pregnant with my third child. I’m going to be honest: the past nine months I spent a lot of time imagining the worst. Well, maybe “the worst” is an overstatement, but I spent a lot of time dreading all the stress that I know comes with a new baby. When people would ask, “Are you excited?” I’d bw-15-foster-15respond in the affirmative, but there was a little part of my brain that would heave a tired sigh. I dreaded the sleep deprivation and constant neediness of a new baby. My three-year-old was just potty trained a few months ago. She’s old enough to climb in and out of the car alone, play on the playground equipment without toppling off a ledge or ladder, and I can leave her unsupervised for more than a few minutes without worry that she’ll shove a fork into an electrical outlet or drink a bottle of Draino. I knew that with a new baby coming, all the independence I’d slowly gained the last few years would be snatched away, and once again I’d be chasing a little helpless person, doing my best to keep him from barreling down the stairs head first or jabbing his eye out with a teething ring. The thought of it all was a bit exhausting.

And then, September 17, my little Dean Robert came.

Suddenly all my dread of sleepless nights and chaotic days was replaced by visions of first words and first steps. The excitement of discovering clouds in the sky and bugs in the dirt. The joy of a tiny hand holding my finger, trusting me to help him find his way.

18-foster-18-2Dean will be my last baby, and I’m so glad I have the chance, one last time, to experience and discover the world through the eyes of a brand new little person, to watch a new mind and personality unfold, to witness up close the start of a whole new life.

I’ll admit that some of my “prepare-for-the-worst” predictions have come true — I’m getting less sleep these days, and once maternity leave ends and I go back to work, life is going to be chaotic. However, I’m happy to report that when I prepared for the worst, I neglected to calculate in a pretty important factor: though a new baby can bring a lot of change and stress, sometimes hard changes bring the greatest rewards. And the chance to be a part of this little person’s life for eternity, it’s a reward well worth a few sleepless nights.

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