Friday, May 15, 2009

Baby Fatigue

I have a one-week-old, but that has nothing to do with baby fatigue.

In fact, I have less fatigue with two toddlers and a newborn than I did with just one newborn.

No, baby fatigue has nothing to do with me, it has to do with others.

Babies bring joy and hope into our lives, no doubt, but it is inevitable that sometimes, when it is a second, third or more baby, we will encounter people who are less than enthusiastic. People who are more flat in their assessment of the situation. First babies get all the glory. But the excitement fades after that. Kind of a been there, done that for some friends and family.

There were elements of my non-Catholic family who definitely reacted in this way to my recent pregnancy and our new son. Their apathy has shown itself by not asking the usual progress questions on the pregnancy and the "oh, that's nice" response to the news itself. The lack of interest in visiting the baby after birth was further evidence of this type of "baby fatigue."

To offset this were my grandmothers, one a mother of 3, the other a mother of 6, who were thrilled and delighted at the prospect of another great-grandchild. Perhaps being mothers of what we would consider to be many at this day and age swayed their thinking. Perhaps it was age and the idea that their legacy would live on. In any event, their happiness and excitement was contagious.

And I had many friends, both Catholic and not, who were supportive and who are always offering to help. I think of these friends as the "baby lovers patrol" for them, it's not a matter of what number baby, but that it is a baby. Many of these friends are parents themselves to no more than one, maybe they are living vicariously, I choose to believe they are acting out of love for Jeff, myself and all three children.

I don't think that the baby fatigue is intentional, I think it is institutional. After all, we live in a world where human life is considered disposable through the atrocities of abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, genocide and human slavery, to name a few. So, what is another life, to most people. I pray for the people who view life through the lens of apathy that their eyes may be opened and that they may value and love all life.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Sometimes there is healing in understanding- not agreeing- but understanding. Some pain we choose. Giving the benefit of the doubt is more conducive to self preservation. Close family and friends usually react that way out of concern for the hardships they feel that you'll be facing.
I have found your message of praying for sanctification profoundly helpful. I pray for my own lest I fall short.
May the Peace of Christ guard your heart and soul.
May Our Lady place her mantle of protection around you.