Words: Wisdom

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ask parents about the first six weeks of their first baby, and you will see the puzzled awe in their eyes and hear it in their voices "I remember," they'll say vaguely, "but I don't know how we did it." 
And people don't like to talk about it. We're suppose to adore our infants instantly and relish every moment of their babyhood because, by God, it is a miracle that they come to birth at all, and they "grow up so quickly." We're suppose to be grateful every moment for their health and joyful about how lucky we are. People coo and fuss over infants and beam at the lucky parents, sometimes asking with a sympathetic furrowed brow, "Is he a good baby?" or "How is she doing at night?" But most friendly inquirers don't really want you to speak the truth: "Last night I thought I had reached the end of my rope when he woke up for the fourth time." or "Sometimes when he cries and cries I wonder why I had a baby in the first place." And who wants to talk about it aloud, anyways? Falling to pieces is a private thing. Easier for everyone if the parents smile weakly and try to fulfill, in public anyways, the happy, adoring cultural ideal.

But the truth is that even when one does adore the baby and feel profoundly grateful for the child's very existence, let alone good health, these weeks are still hard. In fact, caring for a newborn infant test the bounds of human endurance.

—Debra Rienstra

An excerpt from Great with Child: Reflections on Faith, Fullness and Becoming a Motherthe one book I wish I had read before becoming a parent.


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