Words by: Beverley Turner
Lift your head out of the loo for just a moment, we need a chat. First up, fist pump to you for getting right royally up the duff again given that you suffer nuclear-grade vomiting. To face 40 weeks of having the butler deliver little more than dry crackers and ginger tea, you must have really wanted a third kid. So, I have just one question: what the heck were you thinking? Did nobody tell you that three bears no resemblance to two?
It’s a classic mistake that I made myself: first child is a shock; being much more relaxed with the second it’s oddly easier and so, lulled into a false sense of security, you go for a third, reasoning it can be no harder. Bwah-hah-hah… sucker!
Discard everything you know about being a mother, you’re about to face a royal coup. You might want to get Wills tapping up Grandma for a shot at the throne, because he ain’t gonna be the boss in your house. You will no longer be ‘parenting’; you will both be riot police with hourly crowd-control tactics as one little mite escapes through the electric fence. Three children will render you and William outnumbered. The significance of this cannot be overstated. No more man-on-man marking as per Heathfield House hockey training. Days out to Bucklebury Farm will no longer be relaxing – you’ll be too busy head-counting and realising too late that George is at the top of a tree and the fate of the monarchy (and thus the nation) lies in your ability to cover 30 metres of muddy field, in pink Hunters, in under 2.5 seconds.
And, yes, I know you have a great nanny, chef, gardener, blah de blah… not to mention an awesome hands-on grandma and Uncle Harry (who’ll be trying to wow Meghan Markle with his ace babysitting skills, the sexy little monkey), but your kids won’t care about that. They’ll want YOU and when they have a sibling at each shoulder, the competition to win your attention and affections becomes a bare-knuckle cage fight.
Your knee will never be big enough to hold three; you only have two hands (you will learn to sort of ‘kick’ the third one down the road and out of the way of traffic) and you have only one set of lips to kiss them all goodnight. This can leave you feeling like you are never physically enough.
Emotionally, well, you never will be enough. Get used to it. Two lots of playground squabbles discussed with you and Daddy is manageable. For some reason, the emotional workload of three increases by 10 (plus there’s that grappling-for-your-attention-issue, which means you’ll never complete a whole conversation without interruption).
And then there’s the emotional chasm that will widen between you and William because you’ll feel so guilty about neglecting your children’s needs that you’ll inevitably neglect your own. When he suggests a date night at Nando’s, you’ll ruefully explain that you haven’t tackled the reading books for two days and new baby Persephone likes to breastfeed to sleep (you’re not that fussed about feeding her to sleep but, oof, it’s the only bit of peace you’ll get all day).
I did read that you were keener on three than William. Don’t worry, that’s normal: the reluctant, neglected dad of two who reasons that a lifetime of demands is a small price to pay for a few months of guaranteed sex (especially when his wife is still a total sex-pot, still co-ordinating Temperley with diamond-drop earrings). Plus, you were raised as one of three. You understand that being flanked by a sis and a bro who will fight your battles, share your tears, teach you to love, hate, argue, forgive and laugh is better than any divine right of kings. It may be ball-breaking for us, but growing up as part of a threesome is emboldening.
It makes you tough, resilient and very good at stealing food. There will always be someone to play with; always someone to giggle at Dad as he attempts traditional tribal-dancing. There will always be someone to hold Charlotte’s hair back when she’s throwing up in Verbier. The intensity of being ‘just’ two is mitigated by a third. Charlotte could punch George in the face and the youngest will still hang out with her until they are all ready to reach a resolution over a packet of custard creams.
I suspect that you have a great internal monologue and a good sense of the ridiculous (although you hide it well during those African trips to naked tribal leaders). You will need this perspective to stay sane. The chaos created by three will test and exasperate you both. You’ll need to be united, brave and occasionally blind drunk to survive. But in the long run, it will make your relationship stronger because an army of two has to work harder to defeat a gang of three.
But I reckon you’ll be amazing. We all saw you b*llock that kid flicking the Vs to the photographers on the steps of Pippa’s wedding. You have clearly perfected the gritted-teeth bark that all mums of three need to control the pack.
And can I just have a word about the birth? You prepared brilliantly for the last two and gave birth with nothing more than a couple of awesome midwives. So take the easy option and stay home this time. Just imagine how lovely it will be to squeeze out baba in the birth pool and be back in your own bed without having to think about which dress you’ll wear on the steps of St Mary’s! You guys are good at protecting your privacy. No birth is more private than one at home.
So, darling Duchess, go forth and multiply! I wish you all the luck and love in the world. You’re going to bloody well need it.