The view from our room on the 7th floor of Children’s Hospital looked directly east across Wauwatosa, over Miller Valley and to downtown Milwaukee.
Sunset over Milwaukee
We could easily see the brick chimney on Wilson Elementary, and if the leaves weren’t on the trees we would have been able to see our house. It was a curious experience to spend four days out of the house yet so close to home, and it provided both literal and metaphorical changes in perspective. Here are a few thoughts and observations about our recent family events.

Things we are thankful for
-We have a boy and a girl! Theodore (aka Kitty) was born first and they told us he is a boy. Between then and the time Gwendolen (aka Piggy) came out Chris was hoping and praying for a girl, and the happiest moment for both of us was when that came true a few minutes later.
-No bedrest was required for Melissa during pregnancy.
-No NICU time for the babies.
-Mom did great during delivery, came home on schedule without complications and is healing steadily.
-The nursing staff in the Mother Baby unit was fantastic. It’s difficult to imagine better postpartum care.

New Children
In the months before the babies arrived, Chris and Melissa wondered if we could love them as much as we love Everett. Would we become attached to them, or would we view them as the auxiliary children? About a week after they were born we talked about this again and laughed at the absurdity of the question. We recall what Mimi said several years ago: you can’t imagine that you could love the second child as much as the first, but then you do. At the same time, we have made a consistent effort to give Everett the message that we love him the same way we did beforehand, and that he is doing a great job in his new role as big brother.

After birth the children exchanged gifts: Everett gave the babies toys, and they gave him an Agent P hat and a special drinking cup. Everett has been very affectionate with his new siblings and is diligent about washing his hands before touching them. A few days after we got home he sang Gwen a song that he spontaneously made up to the tune of Puff the Magic Dragon.

By the time Everett was born Melissa had been in labor for almost 50 hours and we were already exhausted. In contrast, we were well-rested the night before the twins were born, so it took a few days for sleep deprivation to take its toll, but it did eventually. In the depths of exhaustion one night after the babies were born Chris attempted to put a diaper backwards on Teddy before being gently corrected by the nurse. A few nights after we got home he brewed a pot of coffee on the kitchen counter by failing to put the carafe into the coffemaker.

According to recent research our happiness coefficient should increase about 50% based on an increase from 1 child to 3 children for parents in our age group (Margolis & Myrskylä, 2011). This was based on analysis of World Values Surveys data gathered between 1981 and 2005 from 201,988 respondents in 86 countries. This graph pretty much says it all.

Presumably they did not interview parents while they were sleep deprived and trying to calm a fussy baby or two in the middle of the night. Interestingly, for people in our age group there were similar increases for both men and women, and income was a very weak predictor of happiness.

1. Margolis R, Myrskylä M (2011) A global perspective on happiness and fertility. Population and Development Review 37:29–56.

Comments (1)

One thought on “Perspective

  1. I wonder whether these measurements were made during the early sleep-deprivation part of parenthood or later in the process! I say, savor your happiness moment by moment, and never stop counting those things to be thankful for!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress
Natural World RapidWeaver theme by ThemeFlood