I‘ve been think lately of another time many years ago, when a young couple (my husband and I) became parents for the first time 13 months after getting married. I was reading over some notes I had written back in 1981…I guess a time like right now. Our family is grown, married and with grown children (most of them). But reading in the journal of when our children were born, made me think I would do a post on that time.
August 20th 1964 we had our first blessing, a son J. There’s something tender about the word ‘firstborn.’ The child you learn so much by trial and error. This precious little someone whose life depends on you. That first cold, fever or cough that he gets that sends you into a tizzy. I remember that first cold, only I thought he was ‘dying’…. (a little over-reaction.) He was nursing and he would try to, and then he would cry. Several times he did this and so my first ’emergency’ call to my dependable Dr. S. He had been my doctor when I was a child and he was still the best doctor that a mother could have for her child. He radiated love …not the mushy kind that coos at babies or tried to coax cooperation from them….no he had just a quiet air of confidence and surety about him. And when I phoned him for that first(of many) times, I felt that confidence. So, it was just a stuffy nose…. when my baby tried to nurse he couldn’t breathe out of his nose…and so he would cry because he was hungry. “Get some nose drops”…simple, right? By the way, that’s when doctors still answered their own telephones and at home and at night.
Well, that was just one of the many times that Dr. S. would be called to assure …or should I say reassure me that my baby was alright. I never felt put down though. He had such patience with young mothers and you could tell he loved his job. Those next few months with a new husband and new child were so overwhelming….the house to keep clean, the mounds of washing, the dirty diapers …it all seemed never-ending. But I guess that’s what being a young inexperienced mother is all about.
When our first son J. was about 7 months old I learned that I was expecting our second child. We wanted to have our children close enough together to be friends while growing up, but I guess that I was so tired out from learning so much in the past year or so, that I wasn’t too sure how I’d be able to handle two. It certainly wasn’t easy. J. had been a restless sleeper for about the first eight months of his life, and so I didn’t get too many ‘straight night through’ sleeps. After our second son A. was born he didn’t sleep through for about four months, so I went over a year without a proper rest. This is taking into consideration that when you ‘carry’ a child you really don’t sleep that well at all.
A. was due on the 27th of December 1965 , right between Christmas and New Years. Well he sure took us close to the wire for a New Year’s baby, considering he was born on the 31st of December at 10:30 p.m. We now had two little boys…one blond hair and blue eyes and one very dark hair and blue eyes. A. became very sick when he was 3 months old with whooping-cough and that caused him to get a strangulated hernia. So off we went to Dr. S. after an excited phone call to him. When getting to his office he sent us straight to the hospital without any delay. He had surgery the next day and we brought him home a day later.
The next couple of year are a bit of a blur. I know there were many sleepless nights and my nerves were not too good. When I went to my doctor and told him how I felt, he really had no answer for me and just some advice to get out more and go for walks etc. But when you have two small and dependent children, getting out was easier said than done. He gave me some medication to take for my ‘nerves’ but all it did was make me sleepy and how could I take care of my babies when feeling like that? So the pills had to go and persevere was all I could do.
When A. was about 3 1/2 years old we had our third and last child…a little girl K. with of all things ‘red’ hair. Fortunately she slept through the night from almost the first day home. I seriously needed that. She was also a very healthy baby, unlike her brothers who often had croup and colds. Even though I was suffering from postpartum depression, I managed with of course my husband’s help to look after our three children and work part-time when it became possible to do so.
The years that followed were fraught with the usual things that most young families encounter. The extra stress came with my …what became frequent bouts of depression. I’ve written about much of that previously so I won’t go into that now. But if there are any young women who are going through tumultuous years now, they will pass. Try and enjoy your family now when you can, because you can never get that time back. I look back and though there were some very tough times, I would not trade any of it spent with my children, in the various stages of their lives.
In fact sometimes I long to have that period in my life back…..Did I say that?