Today, Claire came by to visit. I’ve always looked up to her as a Godly and patient wife/mother, and it really felt like a breath of fresh air to spend a couple of hours just chatting with her.
This is a woman who was trained to be a doctor, but gave up her career to be a stay-at-home mum. In my heart I was feeling that it’s such a pity for her to not practise her profession, especially one which she’s been through so much for. She decided very early on that she would like to be the primary caregiver for her children, and stuck to that choice and gave up her career. Then she told me something which really stuck, she told me not to belittle the work that I do at home, the cleaning, cooking, taking care of children… it’s all part of loving and serving my family, and God sees all that and it honors Him.
A mother of 4 children, she also told me a couple of things which eased my strung-up mind a little. I was telling her how anxious I am to get the little berry into a schedule, and my worries that carrying and cuddling her would spoil her. She told me quite honestly that it’s impossible to “spoil” kids in the first 2 months, and that’s also when they need the most security and assurance.
Having seen kids who were constantly attended to and kids who were left to cry it out, she says that both sets of children turn out well-adjusted, and it’s not a be-all-and-end-all kind of choice that I have to make. It boils down to my comfort level and my personal choice.
Claire had it bad for the first 9 months… her daughter somehow decided that night was day, and day was night. So she lived a nocturnal existence during those long months. She struggled with breastfeeding and like me, felt trapped by her cow-like existence for round-the-clock feeding when her child feeds every 1.5 to 2hrs, and in between the changing, burping, putting to sleep; she hardly had any time to rest.
Having heard all that, I’m amazed that she still went on to have 4 kids. She told me that the first child is always the hardest, but it’s also the one whom she remembers the most vividly, because everything is new and scary. For the rest of her kids, she was a lot more relaxed. Perhaps it will be the case for me too, if ever we have more berries coming our way.