When a baby is born, each family member’s life is affected in some way, and most of the time, it is a huge change. For little Josie, she was no longer the center of attention, the “only” child. She became the big sister and suddenly her needs had to wait while mom was finished feeding, changing, or settling baby Olive. Stephanie told me, “Josie doesn’t like me right now.” Ahhh…that transition period. Scary.
I remember those days well, the few weeks immediately after the baby comes home from the hospital. I learned to watch out for the other children as they sometimes would do things that were never an issue before. The worst was when my little child walked out of the bedroom holding my new baby’s partially dried up umbilical cord and said, “Mommy, I didn’t pull this off!” If that wasn’t bad enough, the WORST was when our little Cory climbed up on a chair, lost his balance, and fell into some soup which minutes before had been boiling on the stove. My husband had just dished it up and set bowls on the table. His arm was so badly burned he had to be rushed to the hospital. Where was I when this happened? In the bedroom with the new baby. Yes, scary. My advice to new moms? Watch the other children carefully as they will do things you least expect.
How does the birth affect the mother? I was deeply moved when I read Stephanie’s blog about the natural birth of Olive. That is WORK to get that baby here. I know. Been there seven times. Tired, that is a new mom, giving up a good night’s sleep for months to feed her new baby that can’t go more than 3 hours without nursing. Breastfeeding is easy for some, but for others it is an effort to eat and drink enough to have enough. That transition of the milk coming in and consistently being there takes some effort. Some deal with postpartum depression. If a new mom is lucky, her mother or mother-in-law will come and help out for a time. Stefani is very lucky…she has had the help of both.
What about the new Dad? Feelings of responsibility to provide well for that little life would be in his thoughts, no doubt. A Dad who helps his wife with all she is going through is a blessing indeed. He too goes without sleep, helps with the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, while trying to satisfy the immediate needs of the other child or children. It’s not easy.
So why do we go through all this? It all begins with love. I like this quote by George Eliot. “What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.” And from Anthony Brandt, “Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.”
What a wonderful thing it is to have a baby and help her develop into the person she was foreordained in heaven to become. Best wishes, Stefani and Eric as you begin this new chapter in your lives.