Nearly all of my posts last summer were related to a single topic: preparing ourselves for the new arrival so that we would give our baby the best start possible. The aim was fairly simple: we wanted to have a happy baby.
Now, like so many expecting parents, we went a little overboard, trying to find every possible kink in the armor so that anything we could do which could have a positive effect on the baby, we did.
Now that our baby is 4 months old, it almost looks like we took this whole “happy baby” thing a little bit too far. My wife & I were joking the other day that if our son had been born to a pair of psychiatrist parents, that he’d have already been prescribed drugs by now to handle his persistent, ridiculous, infectious, good-natured smiling & laughing. It actually borders on the absurd. All you have to do is come over & look at him, and he either smiles or laughs.
So, I figured I would do a little retrospective and review those things that I feel best contributed to having a happy little munchkin. Note: again, like so much of this site – some of this is specifically Scientology. Some is just common sense.
Education:While yes, this was our second child, my wife & I wanted to approach it like it was our first, revisiting & learning and making sure we were in the know so as to do the maximum number of things right. We started out doing the quite excellent Having a Happy Baby Course at our local Church of Scientology. You can read my review of the course here, but in short it gave the two of us a common understanding, and a common ground for discussing the things we wanted to do to make sure the baby turned out right.We then followed this up with a lot of study on other birth & pregnancy related texts – like Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and Optimal Foetal Positioning – all to make sure we knew how to physically approach her pregnancy and the birth with as much know-how as possible.
Eliminating work-related stress encroaching on the home:I wrote a whole post about it here, but work-related stress was one of the first targets for attack when we found out my wife was pregnant again. We wanted to make sure that I had a job that made enough money, but also didn’t result in my constantly having to be “at work” when I was at home. So, we handled that as a first action, and that turned out to be a big relief that had a major impact at home. My wife likewise cut her schedule down to something manageable so that she could get adequate rest, and that we both could care well for our daughter, get our work done, and keep the house maintained without stress. This was a big deal and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Communication course: Obviously, with transitioning from a one-child household to a two-child household, we were going to have some transition issues to work through as a family – especially since we were going to have two kids in diapers at the same time. So, another first item we wanted to brush up on was our communication skills. We knew that being able to get through this alive depended on our being able to talk to one another effectively – and that’s one thing Scientology is great at helping at. So, we did the Success Through Communication Course together, and that was awesome. You can read more about our thoughts on that here.
Lots of rest for mommy, daddy taking responsibility for such: Since this is the daddy writing this, I’ve got to mention the deadly importance of making sure that mommy is getting plenty of sleep – both during the pregnancy, and after as well. Our daughter was 17 months old when our son was born, so as you can imagine, she’d sometimes be a handful right around sleepy time – both when mommy was pregnant, as well as when mommy was dealing with the new baby.
So, while I was by no means perfect, I knew it was my solemn duty to make sure mommy got enough sleep – so I’d commonly sacrifice my own sleep for mommy’s – and that’s paid off with a stress-free pregnancy, as well as a mommy that’s had no difficulty breastfeeding our son and keeping up with his voracious appetite.
Getting daughter involved – letting her help:We had heard so many stories of parents with kids close together, where they had major issues with the older child now that the baby came along & stole mommy & daddy’s attention & affection. So, we figured it was a top priority to get our daughter involved with the baby, helping the baby, helping mommy & daddy with the baby, and making her a part of the solution rather than the problem. Despite the fact that she’s not even 2 yet, she already wants to be responsible for the baby. The video below I think illustrates what I’m talking about:
Pregnancy Assist Program: mom’s mental recovery: I also can’t overstate how important it’s been to make sure that mommy be in the best possible shape, both physically – but more importantly, mentally. As such, my wife got an extensive program at our Church called a Pregnancy Assist program, which was just fantastic. You can read all about this here. The result has been zero post partum depression or other bad effects from the birth, a stress-free pregnancy, and a straightforward birth. This was incomparably helpful.
There were a number of other helpful elements, but I’d say those are the tops. And man, are we happy with the results!