My husband and I wanted to have kids like many other couples who are lucky enough to do so. We were the first in our group of friends to take the leap.
Along came kid number one – a boy! He took seventeen hours to get here and then was not breathing and did not have a heartbeat when he arrived. Code Pink. After three days of tests and monitoring, we learned that there was nothing wrong. He just was going to do things in his own time and in his own way. Anyone who knows him now knows this to be true.
With his arrival, the world stopped. Well, the world as we knew it stopped. Joy, as big as the world, ascended upon us. Tiredness, doubt, and plain old fear ascended, as well.
We were two parents working full time raising a baby. We kept a strict schedule-diaper changes (did he poop?), last feeding (how much did he eat?), last nap (for how long?), did you pack the diaper bag, does the sitter have kleenex because he has a runny nose? Honestly, I took a box of tissues to the babysitter’s house. She smiled politely and said, “We have those, but thank you!”
We grasped onto our life as we had known it. We still went out to eat. Son in a baby carrier at the end of the table. We even braved movies, if we planned them around nap time. Trips to the beach and on the boat just required a lot more stuff. How could someone so small require so much stuff?
We attended a parenting class when our son was about six months old. We were told that all of the things you want to instill in your children—independence, free thinking, confidence, strong character—are all things that make it difficult to be his/her parent. We have discovered this over the last 22 years, but we wouldn’t change a thing. Each of our kids have those characteristics. We, of course, prefer when they don’t use them against us, but luckily that is rare. It’s so fulfilling when you watch one of them advance (or evolve) because of their strong character.
Our friends started having babies and we were all in it together. We stuck together for the day to day, dinners and picnics, group birthday parties, and vacations. We did it for survival and sanity and a way to keep a hold on the life that we knew prior to kids.
Having kids? Do yourself a favor and do so with a strong support group of family and friends doing the same thing – It lasts a lifetime.