As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome their third child, my news feed erupts in royal baby fever. A new heir to the throne. Royal traditions requiring mothers to push a baby from their body then stand in front of the world immediately after as if nothing happened. Quickly the conversation turns to their transition to raising three children.
Opinions fly on Facebook as they argue what was the hardest transition for parents. One to two or maybe two to three kids? Others argue the most difficult is when a child leaves the nest to pursue their own life.
These conversations sting, but I don’t dare join in.
If I did I would say the hardest transition was going from three kids, back to only two. Going in the reverse direction, regardless of what the numbers are is far worse.
Imagine the response that would get!
People would be sad. They would be “sorry”. I would probably be accused of using my loss as a way to “trump” everyone else’s hardship. Someone would start a phrase with “at least”. Others would feel an extra moment of gratitude for what they have because no everyone is so lucky.
This isn’t the response I would want, so I stay quiet.
As a bereaved parent I simply want to share my story, my perspective. It is just as valid as everyone else’s. There are actually a large number of us that share the same view. But this part of the conversation is missing. No one wants to acknowledge this reality because it means it could happen to you. I used to think like that.
If we could join in, we’d also share our perspective from “before”. I would say going from three to two was the absolute hardest. However, before that, I would have said the adjustment to just one child is the most difficult.
Your first child has the largest impact on your life. Every single thing changes: your schedule, how you spend your time, your priorities, your heart. The most life changing transition ever. Until… you lose a child.
Then your entire world changes… again.
I have very recently arrived exactly here. I went from 3 to 2 when my firstborn died on April 2nd after a traffic accident. His brothers and I got 12 days of hope and despair before my son’s body finally shut down in the ICU, due to extensive brain damage. He was 29. Not on the verge of excelling in school, or in sports, or in being “just” the best kid in the world, but on the verge of finally leaving the nest and getting married. Life is as shattered as you know it is. I’ve been looking for something to cling to, to give me something I can use, and today I found your blog. Just want to say thank you. After reading a few of your blog posts I feel that you know what it’s all about. I’ll keep reading. / Catarina
Thank you! I’m glad to hear it’s helpful. I have always thought it helped to connect with other bereaved mothers. We understand each other like no others could.
I too am a mom of 3. Two adult boys on Earth and my daughter who was 22 years when she passed from a car crash. I know my daughter McKenna is with me but life is so different.
We were the best of friends and even though I have my husband and two sons I feel so alone. Almost like being abandoned.
It’s difficult to smile and laugh just because of the guilt. I’m here and she’s not.
I have 4 daughters 3 here on earth and 1 now In heaven. My oldest is married and the 2 youngest are struggling well we all are struggling. Since I’m the mom I’m supposed to put us back together. How?!?! My youngest was so carefree before and now she is angry, mean with her words toward me and she isolates herself in her room. I have tried counseling with her, just the two of us outings and I ask her about things she used to enjoy and she gets mad at me for asking and says she doesn’t like those things. I’m not sure how to fix our family or if it can be….
I went from 5 to 3
My oldest son Alex is forever 20 after jumping into heaven off the cliffs on the river where we live. It happened on July 15, 2013. These days I’ve been feeling the sting of going to two children here on earth verses my three. It seems more pronounced to me. I liked the chaos and energy of all my kids, with two it seems manageable which feels wrong. Thanks for your post, it resonated with me.
Carol, my son passed away in August, 2020 from pancreatic cancer. He was 43 and my first born. My other children are 38 and 40. Your words resonated with me. I remember that when I had my third who is now 38, my house felt so much different going from 2 to 3 children. Now, going from 3 to 2 even though they are adults, some of that joyous energy is gone. Thank you for sharing. You helped me feel connected today.
I am a mother of 4 two girls and one son on earth. I lost my son at 14 to cancer on 2/20/04. Derek would have been 30 1/30/20 hard to believe he’s not here. I am a single mom. People say it get “easier” when?? I too had to make that devastating decision to end life. I feel so guilty not having my other three say goodbye, they were getting ready for school I told my mom let them go onto school, he should be home today from the hospital. He never left with me. I do appreciate someone else that’s going through what I’m going through and understands.
Just found your blog that says so much of what I have felt since my 6-year-old son died 20 years ago leaving behind his 3-year-old sister. When her beloved brother and best friend died she said to me, “Mommy, half of me is gone.” I’d have to say the worst is going from 2 to 1. She grew up a sibling without her sibling, living next door to a family of four siblings close to the same age. It has been heartbreaking every inch of the way and will forever be. It’s made her who she is and has given both of us bittersweet gifts. Still I will always miss who she was for the first three years of her life when she had her big brother who adored her and who she adored. The hole is unfillable, the loss irreconcilable, as you know.
You are the best. I went from 2 to 3 in a very similar way to your son’s death. Your blog is so therapeutic for me.
I just lost my Baby, from 3 to 2, my Little Kaitlyn 16 months old, 29 weeks ago, it Still feel unreal, I just found your blog, and as Im Redding it, is like you gave words to my emotions, still raw this pain and still dificult to me to understan this new path in my life.
I lost my 38 year old son on November 30th, 2020 very suddenly from an aortic aneurysm. He died while visiting my husband and I. We tried giving him CPR but he was already gone. There were no signs of illness. We are all in shock and in so much pain. He leaves a wife and 5 children and his one sister. I have so many days of darkness that I don’t know how to go on with my life. He was a wonderful son, brother, husband and a great dad. Reading your blog makes me feel not so alone with my grief. You know what it feels like to lose a child. You get it.
I went from 3 to 2 in August, 2020 when my 43 year old son passed away from pancreatic cancer. Of course I’m grateful for my 2 surviving children and my 3 grandchildren. But there is someone who was so special and so alive and energetic and funny and wonderful who is missing from our lives. Thank you for this blog, Emily, and thank you to those who share. I helps so much to know I’m not alone in my grief.