Why do we do this to one another? Why do we ask questions to which an honest answer may make the parent feel inadequate?
Much like the common "how are you," to which the only expected/accepted response is "fine," people love to ask new parents if their baby is "good." In fairness, they mean no harm. I'm fairly certain they mean something akin to easy...does he not cry too much and eat and sleep appropriately. Yet when they phrase it this way, when they use the word "good," it feels wrong to not answer in the affirmative.
My friends, Shepherd is good. He is good in that he is a sweet, tiny, adorable person who embodies the miracle of life. He is good in that he is a beloved child of God, a gift from our Heavenly Father. He is good in that we love him more than life itself. But as good as he is, he hasn't proven to be the easiest baby.
For about 10 days, he pretty much slept, ate, and screamed. The days felt long, with never enough time or arms to comfort him and give the twins the attention they crave. It was hard. It didn't feel "good." Luckily, after some dietary changes, he is much more content and even inching closer to easy. He still likes to be held pretty much all of the time, which is challenging when you're also chasing two 2-year-olds, but the screaming has seriously decreased. Definitely closer to easy.
So because I can't be the only one with a good baby who is less than easy, maybe we should rephrase the small talk we make with new parents. Perhaps we can ask a more general "how are you" or "how's the baby," a question that allows the parent to reveal as much or little about their new life as they desire without feeling like a fibber. Maybe we can even throw in a "newborns can be quite difficult," making it easier to admit that caring for their precious child sometimes feels impossible. And hopefully, however they choose to answer, we can truly listen. Listen and encourage. Because all babies are good. But parents sometimes need the space to share that even good babies aren't always easy.
|my good little Shepherd|