No two are alike

By Published On: December 11th, 2014

One of my favorite things to do is to pace […]

photoOne of my favorite things to do is to pace around the house while bouncing our new little guy in my arms. I study him and ponder life while doing this.
My most recent pondering had me thinking about the ways in which he is similar and different from our other kids and how his birth was similar or different from others. Keep in mind, we have five kids, so there is a pretty good sized data set for comparison here. Moreover, many of our friends also have young children, so we also have their birthing and parenting stories to compare against. Considering all of this brought me to a very important conclusion: No two births and no two children are exactly alike.
Perhaps that sounds like a self-evident truth, so why say it? I say it because I can recall times when I thought, “Dang, this is so hard. I never want to do it again.” I say it because we have friends who regret the permanent and life-long decisions about their fertility they made in a moment of exhaustion and panic. It seems to me that we are forgetting the self-evident truth whenever we start looking for the nearest exit from birth or parenting. Allow me to illustrate with a story.
My wife spent four days in the hospital for mastitis after the birth of our first child. So, I was freaked out when we found out our second child was on the way just nine months after the birth of the first. I was in mental anguish over the thought of my wife going through more mastitis. But guess what! Our second child breastfed wonderfully, and there was no sign of infection. My worry had been for naught. In fact, I thought, “Dang, if they were all this easy, then we could do this many more times.”
A few years went by with no more babies. Then we got pregnant again. We were excited. But when the ultrasound showed two little blobs, my wife kinda freaked out. Mastitis wasn’t the worry this time, but my wife’s emotional stability was. We paused, took deep breaths, got our bearings, and moved forward. She had gained her confidence and composure by the time of the birth, which she handled like a champ. That brings us to the birth that happened 15 weeks ago, which seemed like a walk in the park compared to the twins.
Do you see the theme here? Of course you don’t because there isn’t one, and that’s my point exactly. None of our pregnancies, births, or parenting experiences with any one kid were necessarily a predictor of any subsequent ones.
That is precisely why we need to resist the temptation to come to hasty conclusions about any future pregnancies, births or children. Perhaps you had a really stressful birth, or maybe you have a hyperactive handful of a child. You’re hesitant about doing this again. I was, too. But we did do it again, and again, and yet again, and it was different every time. Don’t assume you’ll have the same experience this time. In fact, I can guarantee that you won’t.