Jennifer Fulwiler is a writer and speaker who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism. She’s a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion, and is writing a book based on her personal blog, ConversionDiary.com. She and her husband live in Austin, TX with their five young children, and were featured in the nationally televised reality show Minor Revisions. You can follow her on Twitter at @conversiondiary.
I’m having a baby next week! This will be our fifth child (our oldest is six) and our fourth girl in a row. I’ll be taking a few weeks off from writing here, though you can count on some gratuitous baby pictures over at my personal blog. What will I do with my extra time when I’m not writing for the Register? Glad you asked.
10. Have a t-shirt made that says YES, THEY’RE ALL MINE. While I’m at it, I’ll print up handy business-card-sized answers to frequently asked questions, so that I can make it through the grocery store without having to stop to tell each person whether we’re done having kids, if we wanted this many kids, and if we know how that happens. (Hopefully Simcha will give me permission to borrow from her recent post.)
9. Find an affordable infant carrier that won’t contribute to heat stroke. I was all excited to try out a Moby Wrap since so many moms talk about it like it’s specifically mentioned in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but then someone pointed out the obvious fact that it involves wrapping yourself up in a whole bunch of layers of fabric. Given that our current weather forecast is like if that movie Groundhog Day were set in the middle of the Sahara, it looks like it’s back to the drawing board.
8. Take advantage of the hospital’s free wi-fi to troll blogs. I’ll be stuck in the hospital for a few days because of a medical condition that makes my doctors retire to their faining couches every time I tell them I’m pregnant, but the plus side is that I’ll be on an internet network that can’t be traced back to me. If there are a bunch of comments over at Creative Minority Report that happen to link to posts that I’ve written, and if OSV’s Daily Take blog is repeatedly harassed by “NCR BLOGGERS RULE!!!” comments from Anon77, I know nothing about it.
7. Post baby pictures on Zero Population Growth message boards. While I’ve got my camera, free time, and the hospital’s IP address, I’ll dress the new baby up in the frilliest little pink dress I can find—maybe adding one of those hats with bunny ears if I’m feeling ruthless—and post a bunch of pictures on ZPG forums, defying people to tell me that the world would be a better place without this kind of cuteness.
6. Lecture baby about the fact that sleep deprivation is a form of torture denounced by the Geneva Convention. If she’s not sleeping through the night in a couple weeks, patiently explain to her that she is in violation of international law.
5. Try not to think about the fact that we’ll have four teenage girls in the house at once. The other day I did the math that in a few years I’ll have girls ages 17, 16, 14 and 12. Start praying for me now.
4. Eye the kitchen sink, resist the temptation to baptize the baby myself. Unless I get good at forging birth certificates or bribe someone to let us skip the class and paperwork requirements, this baby won’t be baptized through traditional channels any time soon. I’ll be resisting the urge to play that one bathtime game, well known to Catholics who have grandchildren by lapsed Catholic children, that involves a big cup of water and the phrase “... in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
3. Gaze at the piles of laundry without feeling guilty. There are always piles of unfolded laundry around here that I look at and don’t do anything about; the difference is that now I can look at them, not do anything about them, and not feel guilty about it.
2. Have a drink. I know, I know, alcohol in breastmilk and all that. I’ll be sure to order a baby breathalyzer, and won’t let her operate heavy machinery if she’s drunk. But after a grueling third trimester, shots in the stomach every day, insufferable Texas heat, and all the other fun that goes with your fifth pregnancy in seven years, a stiff gin and tonic is in my immediate future.
1. Enjoy my new baby!
See you in July!