I can't say I recommend having a baby while taking 12 (graduate) credits, while working up to 20 hours a week, while homeschooling five children. It was...kind of a lot.
But then I was thinking back about all of my births and concluded that either (a) our life is a little over-the-top sometimes or (b) having babies is just...hard...because I also cannot recommend:
- Moving across the country while extremely pregnant (and then being thrown into a somewhat tense living arrangement (we moved in with Andrew's parents and while living with them was easy, living with his sister was a little more stressful)).
- Having your husband leave for a two-week conference shortly after your baby is born (and having your otherwise helpful mother-in-law fly out to "help," only to be struck down with kidney stones so you end up taking care of her).
- Having a baby prematurely mere weeks after your husband returns from a summer internship in Ghana and mere weeks before a cross-country move.
- Having a baby in a foreign country where you are at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding the language and culture (also—plan on moving when that baby is eight months old).
- The level of hardness that is having a baby for the first time (also—plan on moving by the time that baby turns one).
So basically, having a baby is hard. But also...we move a lot...and that complicates life, too. So it can be hard to sort out whether (a) moving is hard or (b) babies are hard. But I'm not currently moving so I'm leaning toward (b) babies are hard.
Andrew pointed out that Zoë's birth wasn't as hard as the others because it wasn't compounded by a move. Although he left shortly after she was born, that was only temporary (and at least I wasn't alone).
This is a very good point.
I told him that that was really the only time Zoë could have been born because as far as babies go, she was extra hard, so God was like, "Quick, Zoë! They're not in the middle of a big move. If you're going to go you have to go now! They won't be able to handle you otherwise!"
I mean, I guess she could have come this time around, too. But we're happy that we seem to be ending with a calm baby. By this age Zoë had already started with colic...and that would last for...a long time. The amount of screaming that baby did...
In a way it's nice because I don't think it's possible for me to be stressed out by babies crying anymore. I'm just like, "Is that all you've got?!"
But that also made her a Very Difficult Baby.
Sometimes I offer to come hold babies for new mothers (like, seriously—call me any time day or night and I will come hold your screaming infant so you don't lose your ever-lovin' mind) and they look at me like perhaps I'm the crazy one. And then I remember that not all babies scream their heads off 24/7.
Just...some of mine did that...so I'm a little scarred.
Phoebe hardly ever cries. She doesn't particularly like waking up, so sometimes that makes her fussy. And she doesn't particularly like when she's gassy, so sometimes that makes her grumpy.
Mostly she's a content little thing.
Babies are hard.