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3 x 3: Three Kids by Three Different Dads

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Tawni: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Is it OK to apply that timeless saying to the family unit? Many may think not, but fortunately for me I do not know those people. In 11 days, I am due to give birth to my third bundle of joy -- from (yes!) the third bundle provider.

Three men three baby

Until I read a Daily Mail article about being a 4 x 4 mum (four kids by four dads), I had never heard such a phrase. I guess I am a 3 x 3 in waiting. I stumbled into motherhood at the age of 20 by doing what is quite common amongst folks at that (and any) age. The "sperm donor" (as I like to call him) and I were not involved in a serious relationship, and he threatened to stop seeing me if I kept the baby. Being that I was not particularly fond of him anyway, I told him to go screw himself. Not having this child was simply not an option; although I was only 20, I had definitely had my share of carelessness and lack of responsibility. (Maybe since I was born to an 18-year-old mother, this was not too scary for me to accept.)

When my daughter was born, I was amazed by her. It was just the two of us until she was 2 years old. When I met my now-ex-husband, I was 22 and he was 23. We totally jumped headfirst into what ended up being very cold water: We got married a year after we met; a year after that, we purposely had a child. My son was the perfect little brother and we were one big happy family ... kind of. Through observing the behavior of my ex, I realized that he was an addict. Even though he was pleasant enough and as supportive as a 25-year-old could be, he could not keep a job or take care of his family. I tried to deal with it for four years, then I had to leave. I'd always wanted a big family -- one that included a father for my children -- but sometimes things just don't work out the way you think they will. But the desire to have that truly beautiful family unit did not go away for me.

I had a couple of other rocky relationships that ended with ickyness before finding happiness. Then, there he was. FINALLY!! With the history I've had, I could have become jaded or cynical about commitment. But love reigned supreme. He is perfect for me and wants the same things I do for all the right reasons -- but is just different enough to keep it fresh and unique. We are having our first baby together, and have a wonderful, communicative, mature relationship that lights up my life. Completion has happened, and it has been a long time coming. I am very happy to have let go and moved on to a place where I do not judge myself for my past (well, maybe once in a while I do, LOL).

My daughter has never seen her father; my son's dad has been off the grid for almost six years now. Neither ex has ever payed a penny for his amazing child. My kids have no idea how broke we were, and probably won't for quite some time. I do not regret a single decision. I am proud that I had the strength to walk away. Of course, from time to time I wonder how much I've screwed up my kids -- if my daughter will ever trust a man; if my son could be more secure about himself. I have to remind myself that it was much healthier to teach them to get off a sinking ship before it hit rock bottom than to sit around and take disrespect. They will hopefully be stronger individuals because of it. The one on the way will only know a true family, so now the task is to assure the older children that their reality is stable and will remain so "til death do us part."

next: What's in Your Womb?
35 comments so far | Post a comment now
Danielle May 13, 2010, 9:02 AM

Little guidance can go a long way. I personally understand from my parent’s struggles. Definitely like your loyalty to your family regardless of the decisions you’ve made in the past. I’m glad you waited until you were 20. I was 20 with my first but I wish I was older. I had to figure things out on my own too. Luckily I was an overly cautious dater…now if only I had my parent’s to ask advice and be the example…now that is my job, to raise my kids and be the role model for them. 3 kids is good for me, Two is great but 3 is my limit. I want to be able to have the energy to keep up and if one day I had to do it solo I would have the sanity left to do it.

Anonymous May 13, 2010, 10:19 AM

wow! That’s pretty sad that she is proud to have 3 kids by THREE different fathers.

Melissa May 13, 2010, 11:03 AM

Why should she be sad?
I am also a 3x3…never heard of it either!
But, I am still married to the 3rd…22 years now. Friends with the 1st.
All are grown and I couldn’t be more proud of them. One is nationally known in his sports. We are known around town as “his” parents…LOL!
I went through very hard times, but, the Lord blessed me with my third husband who adopted the 2nd whom I was still pregnant with when we got married. Then he wanted the third.
I would not be ashamed at all about any of my children. The people that should be ashamed are the ones that disparaged our children or their families, because we don’t fit in their little box of ethics, or those that tell me I should be ashamed to have had 3 of the most productive, beautiful human beings I have ever know. Besides, you have no idea why or how I became pregant, which was while I was on birth control. So, I should be ashamed that my BC failed, and decided to have the child, with my husband? Should I be condemned for this? Or just that I was able to try and love and trust another man to be in my life after the first one was caught fooling around or the second disapeared on Christmas Eve? I can’t help the infidelity or disappearance of the men I trusted, but, I can control how to love and give the proper guidence to the children I do bear without any help from government assistance or even family. I can only be thankful I have a husband that has loved and cared for us all for 22 years now.
How quickly we judge others.

em May 13, 2010, 11:04 AM

At least she loves her kids more than anything, thats what matters most of all.

Anonymous May 13, 2010, 12:22 PM

Yikes -I doubt I’d be loud and proud about randomly having sex and a child the first time, marrying on a whim the second. I understand life happens, but what happened to common sense and actually thinking before we act?

Anonymous May 13, 2010, 12:47 PM

Are you get married to the third daddy?

Krista May 13, 2010, 12:57 PM

Is she married to this 3rd man. If not she should have waited until they were married. Life changes for good and bad, but I would not have a 3rd until we were married, not that I think you have to be married but it just sounds better.

Samantha  May 13, 2010, 10:18 PM

super kudos to you. you are a strong woman and your children will benefit from seeing that! have no regrets, simply learn form your mistakes. admit you’re wrong when you are, and say sorry when you should, but don’t be apologetic for who you are.

Chrissy May 14, 2010, 2:53 PM

Sorry Samatha, her children willnot be “proud”. Her first two chidlren already don’t have their fathers in thei lives and will grow up having difficulties dealing with the fact that their half sibling DOES have his/her father in their life. (If he sticks around, whcih considering her ability to choose good men is questionable.)
If he doesn’t stick around, they have absolutely no good role model for a stable family. The daughter(s) will learn that men don’t stick around and the son(s) will learn that they don’t have to. They will take having children causally and not the seriou life altering event it is.
They will grow up missing a father they never had and resent their mother because she created that family life.
Whether a parent simplely takes off or dies, children not get over that easily. A missing parent is a very difficult wound to heal.
So maybe she shouldn’t be so boostful about being a 3X3.

Tartar May 15, 2010, 2:41 PM

Dear Anonymous, If you don’t have anything nice to say DON’T! You have no idea how hard it is to raise 3x3. Gob Bless her for her strenght and devotion. They sure look happy, who are you to say anything negative. There are so many worse things in this world. You want to pick on someone come on down and pick on me, I am a social worker and see the worst you can immagine. She loves and cares for these children and that’s all that matters.

Tartar May 15, 2010, 4:53 PM

Chrissy, What planet are you from, they are happy and smileing with their Mother, to print negative posts that the children may see is irresponsible. But what skeletons do you have in your closet. Don’t judge unless you know your facts. She made a positive post and your telling everyone the children will resent their Mother? They will love and respect her more for all her efforts, after all you can’t comment on what you don’t know. Men can be just sperm doners and never be there for their children or they can be responsible. Unfortunately you never know until your in that situation. It is different for everyone. Don’t hate, or criticize, just feel good they are happy and facing all that life throws at them. Don’t make waves where there are’nt any. You go Tawni, What a beautiful name. It’s as beautiful as you. It means Little One. People will always have bad things to say because they need drama. Don’t listen to them. Keep positive, and I am so happy for your family. Bet your Mom and Dad support you in all you do in life and love those children with all their hearts.

Shirlene May 15, 2010, 5:08 PM

Dear Anonymous,

Although you surely have a right to your own opinion please know it comes across so very judgmental and harsh.

Perhaps you only see shame…or your definition of it, but your judging rather than trying to understand and see the love. I feel pity for you and wish that your heart and life be filled with love and not judgment.

My dad had a saying “If you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

Where’s the Love?

Chrissy May 16, 2010, 12:08 AM

What planet are YOU on? You’ve never met anyone who had problems as an adult in their personal realtionships because they came from a broken home?
And that’s exactly what this blogger has created.
You honestly think Tawni having three different men fathering her children is creating a stable home life for her child?
You honestly don’t think these children WANT to have their dads in their lives? What to get to know them?
One photograph of people smiling does not equal the absence of problems.
Tawni posted that she always wanted a big family. It doesn’t take a Dr Phil to figure that she doing what she wants to get that large family, in spite of her own worries that it is harming her children.

Nikki <3 May 16, 2010, 6:00 AM

Dear Chrissy…

Tawni shared her experiences, her falls, her heart aches, and her struggles; to maybe enlighten other people who are picking up the pieces of shattered hearts. And while Tawni put her life back together, do you think it helped her any to have people like YOU telling her what a broken family she has created? Do you not think she struggled with the pain of what she thought of herself, and what people thought of her? What I don’t understand about our world, and people like you, Chrissy, is why do you want to be so cruel? Does it make you feel better to be the person who tramples on new found happiness? Why don’t you save all your hate for someone who actually deserves it, or do you really think that Tawni, a single mother for 10 years, truly deserves to be the receiver of your cruelty. And if you do believe your criticizing along with sarcasm is rightfully placed and directed, then I’m sure Dr. Phil would love to treat you.

You go Tawni!

Laila May 17, 2010, 5:36 AM

I’m the daughter of 3x3 mom and let me set everyone straight - it IS embarassing!! I’m ashamed that my mom seriously couldn’t keep it togehter enough or make mature choices. It’s like she had a kid with every man she had a long-term relationship with. I WILL NOT be doing the same thing. So for everyone who thinks it’s so great and how much she loves her kids - believe me she is selfish and loves herself and her “boyfriends” far more. I know this from experience.

Kristin May 17, 2010, 9:39 AM

Right guys. Because marriage fixes everything. *rolls eyes* Good for the author for putting her family first!

hope springs eternal May 17, 2010, 9:41 AM

Positive responses,
Thanks the Heavens there are people like you in the world. We live in a better place because of you! Laila, You are only one voice, so please know you don’t speak for anyone but yourself.I am sorry that your mother has raised you to think she was selfish, and maybe she was. But I too have 2 siblings that do not share a father with me. My mother is anything but selfish. She made sacrifices by leaving her ex-husband and the one boyfriend, not “boyfriends”. It may have been easier to stay with them. What no one is realizing…or should I say Chrissy and you aren’t is that the fathers may have been abusive. It is far worse to have an father who is an addict and abusive then it is to see a mom have the strength to walk away and do it on her own. My mom has never been selfish because she wanted a life partner, isn’t that what every one wants? My siblings and I are involved heavily in extra-circular activities. She’s done everything she can to make sure we are at the best schools, where she ALWAYS volunteers, her whole life is about making our lives better. I don’t know where she has time to be selfish between driving all of us to soccer games, dance rehearsal, play dates, and birthday parties.We never new the heartache she had because she kept a positive attitude and raised us to love.

Anonymous May 17, 2010, 9:56 AM

First of all, go Nikki! Dr. Phil would love to shrink someone this closed minded.!!! Tawni never said the dads didn’t stay around, she left them because they were unfit. I am happy to not know my father because he did not want to know me, and as for my stepdad, I am the main reason she did not stay with him. I saw him hurt her. If she stayed with him I would have thought she was weak, and I told her that. She would have taught me to stay in an unhealthy relationship. Not everyone has the same experience. I was raised to see the truth about individuals and their situations. I do not blame our fathers for being irresponsible but I am definitely glad I’d dint have to live with them. When you have a parent who loves you and is honest with you and humble about their mistakes, they will raise wonderful children. I know this because I am proof. It is sad that you only see this as a black or white situation.

hope springs eternal May 17, 2010, 10:01 AM

Chrissy, that last anonymous post was from hope springs eternal…
There are many realities you must have been unexposed to. Living in a sheltered reality is sad because you miss out on sooooo much of the beauty that actually exists in this crazy beautiful world we live in. I feel for you and more for your children if you have them than I do for the person who wrote this article. Who by the way never said she was happy to have had it this difficult, she was sharing her experience. And good for her for doing so. If it makes small minded people think even a little bit, she’s done a service to them they might not even know. I am sure her kids are happy, because she is honest, humble and has courage. They will have these qualities too.

Anne May 17, 2010, 10:17 AM

Like Laila my mom had each of us (4) by a different father and I really think it was horrible decision making and adversely affected our ability to relate to our mother. Sorry, but she had the 4 us by 29 - married once, 3 other dads were boyfriends. That’s just ridiculous and showed us how much more she was concerned with finding the “right” guy and making a new family without really thinking it through. I think people who think its “okay” are either the same type of thoughtless self centered woman that my mother is or they aren’t in the situation. I can totally relate to you Laila

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