This article is part of the series “Put down your life’s story in 52 weeks” in which I accepted the challenge of writing down snippets of my own life’s story in 52 weeks.
- What was your courtship like? Describe your marriage day.
- Share some stories about your spouse.
- How many children do you have? List their names and share a few memories about each one.
- Describe some of the major community, national, and world events you lived through. How did these events change your life?
Here in Germany it’s rare to have more than two or three kids. So we’re some kind of special in that regard. Looking back on my youth I can’t remember any of my friends’ families with more than three kids. When I was a teen I knew a Turkish and a British family with four kids each. And that was commonly considered as “many children”. I was fascinated each time when I visited them.
That had been different two generations before mine. One of my grandmas had almost a dozen siblings. She was the youngest who didn’t even know all of them because some had died young. My other grandma had half a dozen siblings, all of which became of age. Life probably hadn’t been easy for them. But when my grandparents were born there was no indication of a big war, times appeared safe.
Maybe it was WWII which made German people reconsider the number of children they were willing (and able) to raise. Germany was down, for the second time already. Most of the young adults and newly weds in the late fourties and the fifties had experienced scarce supplies, hunger and starvation during and shortly after the war. With that experience in their heads it might have been difficult to trust the times enough for bigger families. I can only guess the reasons behind that though.
All beginnnings are difficult
Having five children eventually turned me from an overcautious young woman to a more easygoing mom. When my first child was born, our babies in the hospital would sleep in a separate nursery room until it was time for feeding. Then the nurses would pick them up and bring them to us. But not until we had put on freshly laundered lab coats and disinfected hands and arms for at least two or three minutes. When the lil ones were fed, the nurses brought them back to their beds. And we had to discard the lab coats into the laundry bin – each and every time…
At home with my baby I’d wear a freshly laundered lab coat – of course – and additionally disinfect hands and forearms before picking up my baby. However, when my third child was born I picked a fight with the nurse in the hospital to keep my baby in MY bed and not put him to sleep in the nursery. What a dragon she was! But I was a mama dragon, and I won…! And with my last child I already had cut the cleaning thing down to a thorough hand wash…
Changes are chances to grow
Things have changed since then. In general and for me. Nowadays moms and babies don’t stay in hospital for ten days any more, five days is maximum now. Sometimes even less if everything goes well. And babies don’t have to stay in a separate nursery any longer, they sleep right next to their moms. I would have preferred that as well. Being bossed around by the nurses made me quite insecure. It’s good thing have changed, and so have I.
A dog nuzzling up to my baby?! No way with my first child! Some of the really fun moments for my last, our dog’s hairs tickling his little face.
A cat sleeping next to my baby!? No chance with my first child! Really cute memories of my last child snoring quietly and the cat purring loudly when they napped together for a few moments. Until the cat heard someone open the fridge…
Yes, of course, with five children you can’t afford as much as a family with just one child or maybe two. But my kids learned to make do with what they have, they learned to trust each other, they learned to cooperate with each other, they learned to help each other out when needed. And more than once I had tears in my eyes when I found out how they coped with a situation with a little help from their siblings. I’m proud of my children, I really am.
If you have children, do you remember anything that you handled very differently between your first and you last child?