What it’s like to… have three Christmas babies

Charlotte Gray’s first baby arrived just before Christmas, on 21st December. Her second daughter arrived on exactly the same day, two years later. Her son was born last Sunday. We talk Christmas babies…

Charlotte Gray, 34, is a photographer. She recently moved out of London to Norwich with her husband and their three Christmas babies: Iris, five, Vivi, three, Wilfred, four days old. 

“Iris was due on 17th December and Vivi was due on the 16th. I wouldn’t have planned it that way, but there you go! I was desperate for them to be born before Christmas Eve. I wasn’t keen on them having a birthday in that no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year.

There is something quite nice about having your first baby in the middle of winter though. You can hibernate and by the time spring arrives you’ve started to get your head around it all. It’s a whole different ball game the second time around though… mid winter, a non-napping two-year-old plus a newborn is not a great combination. You have to get out but it’s so cold/dark/wet all the time.

I was very surprised when Vivi arrived on Iris’ birthday. I’d spent the whole week waking up grumpy because I hadn’t gone into labour that night. Then on the 21st I woke up happy, as I was pleased I’d be able to spend the day with Iris and I thought it meant that they wouldn’t have to share a birthday!

We had a lovely chilled out day just playing with her and popping to a local café to have a slice of cake and sing her happy birthday. I actually went into labour after 10pm that evening and Vivi was born at 11.54pm at home. She just made it – six minutes later and she would have had a different birthday. Someone in the room did joke about changing the clock in the kitchen and we could record her birth as the 22nd but I never would have considered that. It would be so odd to start her life with a lie.

Even though we don’t go overboard with presents I can see it will get harder as they get older

Iris’ first couple of birthdays were very low key, especially her second as we didn’t know if I would be around on the day. We held a little party with three of her friends a couple of weeks early. Their 3rd and 1st birthdays we went to the pub with a cake, and it was only last year that we had a more traditional kids’ party for them.

This year they will also have a joint party and it will be a few weeks early again, and with maybe six-eight little friends. I’m not a massive fan of the huge parties where 30-40 kids are running around although I can see myself embracing that if I only have to do it once a year. I guess we will just see what happens but I can’t see us being able to provide three separate parties that close to Christmas. They do get their own birthday cake though.

We can’t pinpoint any reason for conceiving them on the same (or a very similar) date in the year. No birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. If I had a pound for every time someone joked about that or us only having sex once a year, I’d have a tidy sum of money.

My third baby (a boy) was due on 17th December. It wasn’t in any way planned, but my mum’s face when I told her the due date was a picture. Iris was also due on the 17th but came four days late. Vivi was due on the 16th, so was five days late. With both of them I thought they would arrive early, but there you go!

I was convinced he’d come early. This pregnancy felt really physically tough in the last month, not helped by the fact that we’ve moved house, I’m running my business and the girls are with me every day. I felt like making it to full term might leave me bed-ridden by the end. It was all a bit of a struggle! But he came a day late, and all is now fine.

It can feel a bit stressful having their birthdays and Christmas so close together but that’s also because my business is busy in the run up to Christmas. For two of the last five years I’ve been about to have another baby whilst juggling an existing child/children and work and trying to prepare to give birth.

Even though we don’t go overboard with presents I can see it will get harder as they get older. They don’t ask for anything at the moment – they don’t go to school and they only watch TV via the internet so they aren’t aware of the latest toys – so it makes life simpler. But that won’t last for much longer.

As they get older they can have some money to spend themselves in the summer – perhaps we can have a tradition of a day out and a trip to the toyshop where they can choose what they like

I’m not sure there are any pros to their birthday/Christmas situation. And as to whether or not they get less presents… Maybe but we don’t buy them much anyway!

We’ve cut down on family presents by Matt’s parents buying birthday presents and giving money for Christmas and my parents doing it the other way round. That way we can buy some bits for the kids half way through the year, which was really useful when it came to Iris being ready to use a balance bike. It would’ve been pointless getting one for her 2nd birthday when it was cold, wet, dark and I had a newborn to contend with. But by the summer she was ready and we got it then.

As they get older they can have some money to spend themselves in the summer – perhaps we can have a tradition of a day out and a trip to the toyshop where they can choose what they like…

I think there are pros and cons to having a birthday at any time of year. Matt was born in April and I’m an August baby. My friends were always away for my birthday parties in August and I still have that problem as an adult. I do think it would be nice to have an autumn baby but there definitely won’t be a fourth!

The girls think it’s totally normal that they share a birthday and they are too young for it to have caused any issues yet. They also fully expected and wanted their brother to be born on the 21st. People often ask me if the girls will begrudge sharing their birthday and I always point out that they come from a loving family and there are much worse things in life than sharing your birthday with a sibling. After all, twins do.”

emilygrayphotography.co.uk
Charlotte (Emily Gray Photography) on Instagram: @emilygrayphoto

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