Winter Baby Woes

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winter baby woes Providence Moms Blog new babyIt was a warm, sunny Sunday morning in June that I anxiously sat in the bathroom staring at a little stick to see if I was pregnant. After confirming a positive result with a couple more pregnancy tests (just in case), I started placing the date of my last menstrual period into online pregnancy trackers: a due date in mid-February.

Having a brand new baby is never simple. But a brand new baby in the middle of winter?  There’s a whole extra set of unique challenges that I had not anticipated whatsoever:

You worry about how you’ll get to the hospital if you go into labor in a blizzard

If you live in Rhode Island and are due December through March, this scenario has played out in your mind. My husband and I made a plan for arriving at the hospital should I go into labor when the roads were impassable.  Lo and behold, my water broke spontaneously – without warning – 15 days before my due date.  When did this happen? In the middle of an ice storm of course: one so bad that my obstetrician’s office was closed. While the weather wasn’t bad enough to enact our 20 step disaster plan, my husband white-knuckled the drive to the hospital during far from ideal road conditions. Maybe that was amplified by the sheer terror…I mean…excitement of impending fatherhood. new baby winter baby woes Providence Moms Blog

You don’t know if the baby is too cold….or too warm

Ahhh, the sweet release from the four walls of your hospital room!  Of course, upon your escape, you feel a combination of joy and nerves. No longer will  there be nurses to help you out; just you and your husband exchange reassuring glances that say: “We can do this!” Problem is before you even step out of the room, it hits you. Is the baby dressed properly? I mean, he just vacated my cozy, warm womb days ago. Overdressed/underdressed/too cold/too warm worries persisted for the remainder of the winter. It’s not just a concern when the baby spends time outside either. You even worry about it when you’re in the house. I remember debating with my husband more than once that we were keeping the thermostat too low or too high.  

Short, cold, dark days don’t help your various post-partum moods

Those first few post-partum weeks, filled with the rush of wacky hormones have you a little bit out of sorts. You are basking in love for your new baby, but you can also cry at the drop of a hat. I am a person who thrives on a little bit of sunshine. Several days of rainy weather usually start affecting my mood, post-partum hormones or not.  My maternity leave was made of shorter days, cold weather, and a generous sprinkling of snow and ice. These things did nothing to help my mood swings or energy level.  

All.The.Germs.

It’s cold, flu, and RSV season and your new baby’s immature immune system is exposed to an aggressive onslaught of germs from the onset.  Every little noise and .000000001 change in temperature has your mommy radar on high alert. As a first time mom, I am pretty sure I should have bought stock in Purell – or at least the company that makes those pacifier wipes.  

There’s nowhere to go

Even if the weather is decent and you want to escape from the house, where can you GO? My second son was born in the spring. We went for walks in the park, Target, and Starbucks. We took his big brother to zoos and playgrounds. But, my first son?  We couldn’t go strolling in the park in 30-degree weather, and I couldn’t take him on a recreational Target excursion when the roads were icy. And even when we could go to Target, there was only so many times I could go for “toothpaste” and walk away spending $100 on stuff I “needed.”  New motherhood can be isolating and being stuck inside can make it a tad more lonesome. In the end, I spent many days on my maternity leave feeling chained to my couch nursing, watching reruns of “American Pickers” and tearing up over paper towel ads.  

Crossing your fingers it doesn’t snow for their birthday party

One year into this parenting thing and you’re feeling much more confident. But now it’s time to plan his or her birthday party. In the winter. Having a gathering outdoors isn’t feasible and your house is too small to handle the guest list. Cue the research into halls or restaurants. After choosing a venue, you nail bite your way through weather forecasts leading up to the party.  My son has had six birthday parties thus far. We postponed one because of a blizzard.  And we should have postponed another based on another blizzard the day prior, leaving many guests still digging out.  As I write this I am currently keeping my fingers crossed his upcoming birthday party goes off without a meteorological hitch.

So, there you have it.  I can now look back at those early days of new parenting in a harsh season and laugh. But, be warned.  It’s not for the faint of heart. Did you experience any extra challenges to motherhood with your winter baby?

 

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Robin is a working mother of two very precious, but very precocious sons ages 10 and 6. A lifelong Rhode Islander, she lives in the Providence area with her husband of 14+ years and boys. She is a Bryant University graduate (back in the day when it used to be called Bryant College) where she also received an MBA. In between refereeing her boys' impromptu wrestling matches, carting them between school and practice and handling occasional work issues outside business hours, Robin enjoys cooking/baking (but not the mess they create), 80s music, checking out family friendly events/destinations (pre-COVID that is), visiting new breweries and wineries with her hubby, buying new makeup and taking WAY too many photos (YOLO). She also considers herself an aficionado of naps. Robin believes that it is possible to find both motherhood and a career simultaneously rewarding, with the right support system....and an Amazon Prime account.