‘The Brutal Truth About The Third Child’ was a post I wrote for my blog Relentless in early 2012, a few weeks before my third baby was due to arrive. I wrote it as a humorous – and flippant – comparison between the first, second and third pregnancies. It was never intended as anything more.
But just as I was heading into hospital to actually have the third child, the post was going viral. I had never experienced anything like it. It has since been republished with permission in the UK and the US as well as in Australia. When it was published on ScaryMommy, it was read and shared over a million times in the first week.
I have written about the aftermath of the Brutal Truth on Relentless for the one year anniversary and also written two follow-ups: ‘The Brutal Truth About the Third Child: The First Few Months’ and The Brutal Truth About the Third Child: The First Birthday Party which was a winner in the Parenting Express annual short story competition, and published on their website on December 5th, 2013.
I can’t have a writer’s website without mentioning The Brutal Truth. It showed me that I could make a difference, although sometimes I am unsure exactly what that difference might be. Almost half of the people coming to Relentless arrive by Googling ‘having third child’ or ‘should I have a third child’ or ‘how to tell my husband I am having third child’. I wonder sometimes whether people reading The Brutal Truth come away with any answers or whether I have scared them off.
Overwhelmingly the response has been positive. Of course, it is intended to be tongue in cheek, but it has more than a grain of truth to it. Three are harder than two. Three make more mess, cost more and you need a bigger car. So many people were writing to me asking if they should have a third child, I ended up writing ‘Should You Have a Third Child?‘ Relentless is not an advice column though, and it was the first and last time I offered any opinion on someone else’s life.
Some people have called me irresponsible for having too many children in a world that is already overpopulated and at risk of irreversible damage. To them I say, I will make sure I raise my kids in a way that ensures they leave the planet in a better state than they found it.
As parents, I think that’s all any of us can try to do.
DID YOU KNOW: The Brutal Truth About the Third Child is now available on Amazon for less than the price of a $1 scratchie.