I figured I'd be early on the whole bloggy baby shower thing that EcoGeoFemme is putting together. I'd like to contribute especially because I can see myself in the position that ScienceGirl finds herself in. If I were to have a kid, I would be essentially alone with my partner, in a work environment where field people simply don't have/raise babies, several hundred miles from my own fantastic support system. It would be a little overwhelming.
I am not a big fan of children. Never have been - when I was the age of babysitting, I was simply intimidated. Now I am mostly annoyed by them. And I haven't spent much time with little kids, so I don't have much expert advice.
Except...I am very close to a particular family, and I was close to the kids (10, 12, 14 years younger than I) while we all grew up.
Child number 1 had a terrible time learning to read. She struggled for years. She hated reading.
Child number 2 was a little devil child. She was so picky, her parents said she lived off sunshine, because she spent most of her time burying/avoiding food. She tormented the youngest sibling. She demanded attention. She pinched. She bit.
Child number 3 was a homely baby. Seriously. He looked...lizardlike. For years, he had these oddly huge, wide-spaced eyes and sallow skin. There aren't many pictures of this baby.
These kids have grown up to be utterly lovely young adults - gracious, awesome to hang out with, terrific students, state champions in their particular sports. And child number 3 is model-beautiful.
So hang in there. Babies may be slow to catch up, difficult, and/or homely, but they can still blossom in unexpected ways.