Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Final Verdict on a Winter Baby

I mentioned quite a few times here that I much preferred to have a baby in the spring or early summer.  That was the goal with both kids.  We got it with Jacob, though I did have to endure some 90 degree weather before he arrived.  With Carter, we tried for a year to get pregnant with no luck, and once we went the fertility route, we knew that starting treatments when we did meant we could end up with a late winter baby.  There was no guarantee that the treatment would work for us, so it seemed a little risky to purposely put it off.  Turns out he was even earlier than originally hoped, but we're just happy to have him! 

Having a winter baby has been different.  And honestly, it's probably less of an issue than I thought it would be.  There are definitely some pros I didn't anticipate, as well as some unexpected cons.  Here's a rundown:

Cons

1) Bundling up - It's hard to know when your baby is at the right temperature, and it's a little nerve-wracking trying to guess what level of bundling is sufficient when going out of the house in the winter.  This is an issue no matter the time of year (see pro post below on dressing the baby), but the extreme cold seems scarier than summer warmth.  Plus, it's just a lot more to think about just to get ourselves out the door, between covering up the baby, Jacob, and myself! 

2) Weather - It makes me nervous to drive in bad winter weather, particularly with the kids in the car, and walking through ice and snow while pregnant or carrying a tiny baby isn't much better.  I was so nervous when it snowed like crazy when I was pregnant and convinced I'd go into labor at any moment.  I couldn't shovel myself out, and the bad weather could have caused problems if we needed to get to the hospital quickly.

3) Cabin fever - I think I was most worried about feeling trapped in the house with a new baby.  While it hasn't been nearly as bad as I feared, it would be nice to get out for walks to start getting back into shape and get us both some fresh air. 

4) Germ season - The fact that Carter's immune system isn't exactly strong during peak sickness season does make me nervous.  We're more likely to be in confined spaces because it's cold out, and people around us are more likely to be sick.  Because we still have Jacob's needs to attend to, sometimes it's just not an option to stay holed up in the house, so there's more of a risk simply because we do have to go out more--and to extra germy places like daycare, no less!

5) Dressing myself - Near the end of my pregnancy, the swelling was pretty bad and most of my shoes hurt my feet.  It was hard to put on socks and shoes around my big belly, too.  I would have loved to just slip on some flip flops or sandals and go!  I also had the awkwardness of dealing with a winter coat that eventually wouldn't button, meaning I had to get a bigger one (thankfully, one of my older ones worked), but I looked huge!  It was actually a funny moment post-pregnancy when I realized my coat actually fit again!  I'd also venture that winter maternity clothes are a lot less cute than summer ones, but I'm sure one could argue that both ways.

Pros

1) Covering up - Right after Jacob was born, I had a hard time finding clothes that worked.  I was ill-equipped on the flattering nursing bra front, and it wasn't easy to dress my postpartum body.  Since it was summer, I was pretty limited to t-shirts and shorts or capris that showed every flaw.  It was misery.  This time around I've had the benefit of layering--sweaters and hoodies--and jeans, which are generally more flattering than other bottoms.  I feel a lot more comfortable getting dressed, which helps my perception of being a "together" mom a lot at this point.

2) Not having to go out - We do sometimes have to go out, but there's less pressure to do so the rest of the time.  It's not so bad just hanging out at home and enjoying my baby.  I don 't feel guilty about not taking advantage of nice weather, and there are less events to feel like we're missing out on.  And since I haven't actually been cleared to work out yet, I'm not panicking about wasting away the few good weeks of outdoor workout weather we get.  It's a good time of year to be lazy, and maternity leave fits that perfectly as well.

3) Dressing the baby - Jacob lived in onesies for the firsts couple months of his life because our house was so hot.  I think by later in the summer we had some decent outfits for him, but most of my early pictures of him are in nothing more than a onesie.  Winter has given us some different options--mostly adorable sleepers.  Also, I definitely feel like it's easier to make a baby warm than keep a baby cool.  The only downside to a more bundled baby is that cute things like baby toes are covered most of the time!

4) Winter goes quicker - Being pregnant, delivering a baby, and hanging out around the house during the prime of winter makes this time of year a little more tolerable.  I was more preoccupied with the last minute preparations and feeling like crap than I was with the worst of January's and February's weather.  The first month or two of having a baby is a blur anyway, so it might as well blur the crappy weather, too.  I can avoid the last of the awful commutes, and I don't have to go out into the bad weather any more than necessary.  Right now we're all cranky because the cold weather is sticking around far longer than it should.  It was in the 70s and 80s during this week last year, which was extreme, but we've hardly had any good weather to date and there's nothing decent in the near future.  It's discouraging, but at least I can hide in the house to avoid it.  In general, it's been nice to have a distraction from winter, and I guess in the years to come we can be distracted by birthday party planning and gift shopping, too!

5) The holidays to come - Let's face it, most of the fun in any given year happens later in the year.  Yes, Easter is fun, but summer, Halloween, and Christmas are better...at least as far as kids are concerned!  By the time those three things arrive, we'll have a fun, functional baby boy!  He'll be perfect to tote around to festivals and sports events in the summer, he'll be adorable and aware by Halloween, and he'll be a lot of fun at Christmas, at the perfect age for some for new toys for a newly mobile little boy! 

As a whole, the winter baby thing has been far better than I thought.  I am a little bummed I can't go out for walks right now, but I should have plenty of time to get back in shape by the time summer comes.  I'll probably be cursing birthday shopping when we're doing it two months after Christmas, and panicking about bad weather for Carter's birthday party, but let's face it...we have an awesome little man and we wouldn't change a thing!

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