Two plus one equals three. My five-year-old could tell you that. It’s a simple sum, two plus one. But when you’re a mum to “two plus one” somehow that sum doesn’t always seem to add up right.
Two plus one equals three, right? I am a mum of three. It is a title that sometimes I have to fight to own. Because to the outside world, particularly those who don’t really know me, I appear to be a mum of two. My eldest daughter, my “plus one” is invisible and unknown.
Sometimes, even to those who have met all three of my children, I have to fight to own the “mum of three” title. I am not a “proper” mum of three in their eyes. Two plus one to them equals “two really”. The plus one – well, it doesn’t really count.
I am a mum of two plus one. Two children earth-side, one forever in my heart.
For the briefest of times, I was physically connected with all three of my children. Two in my arms, one in my womb. Full of dreams for the future and, yes, a little apprehension too. What would life be like with three children? How would we juggle being outnumbered? How would we manage it all?
And now I see others asking those questions to parents of three. How do you manage it? I wish I could answer them.
But I am not part of the “parent of three” club. I have no idea what it is like to parent three children earth-side. I have no idea what it is like to live life with more children than hands; to be outnumbered.
But I am not a mum of two either. I have fallen in the cracks. More than two yet never quite three. And every time I see those questions on social media, my heart silently screams. “But I am a mum of three!” And yet I am not.
Sometimes I have to hide those posts on my feed. Those excited announcements of having a third baby, those questions to those of us that have three children. They hurt my heart too much. Reminding me that I am forever on the outside looking in. Filled with envy and longing for the life I once dreamed would be mine, that will never be mine.
I am happy for them, I hope that their dreams will come true. I would never, ever wish this life on someone else. But I do envy them their joy, their hope, their promise.
I wish I could have known what life would have been like as a “proper” mum of three – getting to experience daily life with three children earth-side. Working out how to juggle it all, dealing with the overwhelm, the demands, the everyday chaos.
My third child is invisible to the outside world. For me though, she is a constant presence. Always there in my heart, always there in my thoughts. I juggle my life with three children when I have to balance my grief and devastation at her loss with the needs of my two living children. When I have to remind people that my eldest daughter existed too.
I am a mum of three. I have as much right to that title as any other mum with three children. I will always fight for my right to claim it.
And yet I cannot be part of the “mum of three” club. I do not know what daily life with three children is like.
More than two, yet never quite three. Falling in the cracks. On the outside looking in.
I am a mum of “two plus one”.