Sunday, January 22, 2006

Welcoming a New Baby into the Family

By Christina VanGinkel

I was given the news this week that I am to be a grandmother once again. In a matter of a few months, I will be grandmother to two instead of one. When I had my first child almost a quarter of a century ago, I wondered how I could ever love another child as much as I did that first one, yet each subsequent children that I gave birth to, I fell as madly in love with as I did that first. The same thing occurred when I was gifted with my grandson two and half years ago. I was lucky enough to be in the delivery room, staying at my daughter's side while her husband helped deliver their bundle of joy. I was able to hold him when he was literally just minutes old, and he has continued to worm his way deep into our hearts ever since those first minutes. I have thought more than once since his birth how no other grandchild will ever be as special as this first one. Yet upon hearing that another grandchild will soon be joining our family, I was keenly aware that not only would this one be as welcome as the first, and as loved, but so will others if, and when, they join the family.

Babies are as different from each other as the proverbial night and day, yet each are as alike in one very important way, their innocence. Whether one is a quiet baby, as my third child was, or that fusses at every sound and touch, which would have been our middle child, each is a baby that has joined the world with no preconceived ideas about us, so in return, they should have no predetermined thoughts toward them. I guess what I am trying to convey is that every infant that is entering our lives should be treated equally. They should be loved, whether they are fussy, quiet, screamers, what have you. They have no idea why they were suddenly thrust into this big, overbearing world, and while some deal with it better than others do, they all should ultimately receive the same necessities from us, the necessities of protection, and love.

If you are where I was, not sure that you could ever lover another child, or grandchild, as much as you do the first, look at it this way. What doubts did you have the first time you found out you were expecting, or that your first grandchild was on the way? Be honest with yourself, and consider if you had any doubts about how you would react. Think of how well those issues were resolved, and know that these following times will also be resolved in much the same way. While news of my next grandchild was not expected, and could have arrived under better circumstances than it has, that there are issues the parents themselves must deal with, nonetheless, the baby who is coming is not a part of that. He or she is not one bit responsible for the actions of his or her parents. He or she are as innocent as any human being could ever be, and I know without a doubt, that I will love this little person as much as all my own children and my first grandchild already here.

If you find yourself doubting how you can accept one more baby, under whatever your personal circumstances might be, know that if you just do, nothing more, nothing less, then it will work out. How could it not. I will admit I stumbled when I first heard the news, thoughts raced through my head, but then I told myself just what I have shared with you. I told myself that I would love this infant, period.

So, now I find myself with a few months to shop for a few gifts, to wander the baby aisles and look at all the tiny outfits, sleepers, and onesies, and to crochet one more blanket and sweater set as I have done for each of my own children and my first grandson. Something from my own hands, that will help convey my love, and let them know that they are a welcome addition to the family.

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