Thoughts on Having Four Kids

Saturday, November 14, 2015
I've been thinking a lot lately about how having four kids is different than having three. The one obvious and main difference is that there is one additional and entirely new person in our family. But there have been a million minute ways in which being a mother to four children has affected me in ways unforeseen.

One noticeable change is that we get a lot more attention when we're out in public. People want to talk to us. There is something about children that draws people in. Even though I don't think four kids is all that many, I have to remind myself it's not the norm. I think we also attract more attention because all my kids are fairly little. I see people quietly counting them when we're at the park or in a store. "Wait, you have four?" 
"Yes, I do," I say proudly. And I am proud.

The transition from three to four kids has actually been much easier for me than the transition from two to three. Having a third child was hard, having a fourth, not so much. Part of that is due to Olivia, who is a dream baby. Part of that is because we're starting to become experts in the just-had-a-baby time of life. We know to expect craziness and chaos for a little while and more importantly, to be okay with it. We know that eventually we will find a new routine and a better balance, but that it is also something that can't be rushed, it takes time. I have learned to be okay with the "taking time" part.

I've also noticed I have a new relaxed approach to this postpartum time. Maybe relaxed is not the right word, gentler is probably a better one. After Lucas I just wanted everything to return to normal as quickly as possible. I wanted to be out and about, going places and doing things. I wanted to prove that I could do this mom-of-three thing no problem, even if it was in fact, a major struggle for me. I wanted to look like it was easy and that I had it all together. I cared so much about what I and my children looked like.

At the time, I believed that this need for keeping up appearances was because I wanted to promote a positive image of family life. I wanted other moms to think "if she can do it, so can I." But now I realize there is little encouragement in false perfection. Now, when other moms see me in my yoga pants, still 25lbs overweight and with my eyebrows a mess, I hope they think "geesh," but also, "if she can survive another baby, perhaps I can too."

Because I am often wearing yoga pants and sometimes a bit disheveled, I have realized that this post-partum time has been a much needed dose of humility for my pride. I gain a lot of weight when I am pregnant. I've tried various ways to remedy this, it doesn't matter. My body gains 45-55lbs regardless of what I do. This is very hard for me. Yadda, yadda, gaining weight for anyone is difficult, I know. But being trim and healthy has always been an important part of how I see myself. So obviously, by having my body react to pregnancy by packing on the pounds, God is doing a number on my vanity. This is a good thing, a very good thing. By being open to God's plan for me and my family size, I am benefiting in more ways than I can count. 

Since this is my fourth time around having a newborn, I am acutely more aware of how quickly the time goes. In fact, my newborn is no longer a newborn, she's a full-fledged baby. Before I know it, she will be toddling around with the rest of them. So even in those moments of feeling overwhelmed, I remind myself that my children will only be small for a little while. I don't take this time for granted. Hannah is almost six, practically an adult

But the overarching thought that swirls around in my head most days is how incredibly blessed I am. Our life may be chaotic and a bit crazy, but it is full of love and God's grace and I am truly overwhelmed with how blessed we are. God is good. 


  




4 comments:

  1. God is so good. 4 healthy, adorable children! You are doing such an amazing job! Four kids is A LOT these days; it takes a special kind of person to be able to bear and take care of that many babies! Love you guys!

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    1. Thanks, sister! Your encouragement means so much to me. Four kids certainly feels like a lot most days, haha. You are good and special mama too!

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  2. Loved hearing your thoughts on this, Jennie! Thanks for sharing! I'm going to keep the points you made in mind as we transition from 3 kids to 4 kids (very soon... 7 more weeks to go). XOXO!

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    1. You are almost there! Four Grace kids, here we come! You're going to love it:)
      XO

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