I think that we can all agree that this parenting stuff is hard. I nannied, and had lots of older cousins whose babies I looked after. I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. I didn't ever have that "oh my goodness, they just gave me a baby, now what" feeling that so many of my friends have had. Which brings me to my friend Carol.
Carol got married in her late thirties, and mentioned that one of the best gifts her fiancee could give her was a vasectomy. Other people's kids were okay, but she really didn't have interest in having her own. Last month she gave birth to a healthy, very welcome baby boy. The first comment she had to several of her friends was "I had no idea it would be this hard." And then her baby contracted pneumonia, stopped breathing in her arms, was resuscitated by her, hospitalized in the NICU for a week. I talked to her today and she just sounds like she is at the end. The end of her energy, the end of her reserves.
I know that feeling - after a few weeks of it when Big Whompers was 9 months old I called my doctor and asked to be treated for post-partum depression. After a year of treatment I felt like myself again, and this time around it's been so far, so good.
But I worry about Carol. I knew what I was getting into, but even so, the unexpected toll of my job pushed a fragile balance out of control. How hard must it be for her, a bit blindsided already, to have such a stressful event happen. I really do hope she's alright.