Mary - posted on 07/13/2011 ( 53 moms have responded )
As many of you know, I am an avid animal lover who feels passionately about animal rescue. When I was pregnant, I can't begin to count the number of people who told me, "Oh, just wait until the baby comes! You won't care nearly a much about those dogs, and you'll barely find the time to even feed them."
I dismissed them all; I could see no reason why having a baby would lessen my love for my dogs, nor did I think my obligation to care for them should be impacted by her arrival. I'm happy to say that all of those naysayers were wrong. I still loved them just as much as before, and I did my very best to still meet their needs and those of my newborn.
In the very beginning, it was hard. I wasn't the skilled baby-wearer I am today, so walking them was a bit of challenge. I had to wait until either my husband was home, or ask my mom to watch the baby for a bit (or push the stroller) so I could still walk them a mile or so. I made it a point to snuggle and play with them whenever I could. I did whatever I could to make them not feel jealous, or slighted since I had brought this new little being into their world. In short, I think I treated them the same way that I imagine most parents do any older kids they have when they also have a newborn. Some days it was a struggle, but I just didn't see how having a baby suddenly meant I had less of an obligation to my animals.
However, I have to say that I find myself the odd one out in this philosophy. I see so many dogs surrendered at my local shelter because "we just don't have time for him/her since the baby". I have more than a few neighbors and acquaintances who have told me they have either gotten rid of their pets, or pretty much ignore them since having kids. I have to be honest - I don't get this mindset. I can't see where continuing to care for a pet after a baby is any different than continuing to care for any prior children you may have (except, really, the pet is usually easier).
Do you think that animals are just an easily dispensable part of the household after kids, or are they an integral part of your family?