This is all a curiosity to me. People have been raising children since time began, some doing a better job at producing happy, productive children, and some not doing such a great job. Some children succeed despite all odds and some fail even after the best parenting ever.
Regarding the baby time period, some babies are easy and some are hard. Some moms have more of a knack for soothing a child, some don't. I've been surprised, however, to see that there isn't a lot of correlation between the first year and future years. As I've said a thousand times, I had a perfect first baby and a demanding second baby. But that was only for one year. They were both very easy from 12 months forward. You were an easy baby and an easy child.
I didn't think child-rearing was hard. I thought it was all intuitive. I think that comes from growing up in a family, including extended family of aunts and cousins, that loved having children and assumed it was the role of women to raise children and to love doing it. Children were viewed as a blessing and a joy (even when unplanned and causing a huge burden).
I did not question myself, even when Lance was hard. (I would have, however, benefitted from a book on helping a child learn to sleep for Lance. Although I didn't doubt myself during that year, I was totally exhausted all the time. That was surely not good for our family). This is very interesting for me to think about because I was a self-assured person all my life. My mother was not, but she was self-assured when it came to caring for babies (or caring for anyone, for that matter). A close friend and neighbor when Dawn was born was a self-assured woman EXCEPT when it came to mothering. And her child was very hard. He probably would have been hard regardless of her fears, but it was all compounded, making his first year difficult for everyone.
I always thought the key to raising children was to love them a huge amount, see to their basic needs, and then get on with life. Children are amazingly resilient. They are loved and respected and allowed to become independent, but they don’t control the family.
Sometimes I think I'm just exactly like her. But most of the time I just wish that were so.