When I got married and finished my Ph.D. in psychology, I wanted to start a family. My plan was to work part-time. I really thought it was the perfect plan. At least until I had a baby.
I couldn't fathom turning my baby over to someone else. I cried when I was on maternity leave and told my husband, "He doesn't want me to go back to work." My husband was scared of me from the pregnancy/childbirth ordeal, so he just said, "OK." I felt sick when I left my 8-week-old baby with a woman I barely knew. Everyone told me I would get over it.
It was nice to get back to the job I enjoyed and to see my colleagues. But it wasn't long before my perfect plan didn't seem so perfect. On my work days, I had time to bathe and feed my baby after I picked him up, but then it was time for him to go to sleep. I felt like I didn't even get to see him. I loved my off-days with him, but as I saw him change in new and exciting ways on those days, I wondered what I was missing on the days I worked.
Things were okay until we were finally off the waiting list to get our son into a daycare within a nursing home. There were only three other babies and several toddlers in the daycare. I liked that it was small and that he would be around older people. I didn't have to wait long for him to get sick, however. The daycare called and said my baby had a fever and I would have to come get him. I had to cancel appointments, pick up my son, and take him to the doctor. My pediatrician examined him, said he had an ear infection, and pronounced, "It's because he's in daycare."
I don't remember what I thought when my pediatrician said that. I was a brand-new mom and a brand-new psychologist. I was making a lot of adjustments. I probably thought that this was just part of being a working mom that I would have to adjust to. My baby got better and I took him back to daycare. I got another phone call. He had a fever, so I cancelled my appointments and took him back to the doctor. The doctor diagnosed another ear infection and said, "It's because he's in daycare."
This became a script for my life and my poor baby's life that we replayed every week or two. During one doctor's visit, my pediatrician warned that if he got another ear infection, we would have to consider tubes. Once again, the doctor said, "It's because he's in daycare." I went home that day and sat at the kitchen table with my head in my hands and cried. I needed a new plan.
My husband and my boss agreed that I could cut back to working two evenings a week. When my husband was out of town those nights, his sister-in-law agreed to take care of the baby. From the day that I decided to stay home, my son never had another ear infection. I, however, continued to have some pain. I faced the disdain of people who thought I was wasting my education staying home and the pain of loneliness and a confused identity. I went through several months of depression. I eventually invited several mom acquaintances from church to join me for a Bible study. I made friends and peace with who I was. My baby and I were both feeling better.
Today I marvel that God used a pediatrician who wasn't politically correct to call me home. My first baby will be 15 on Monday.
4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:4-5)