Before I had Christian I never felt even the tinges of baby hunger at any point in my life.
I’d seen display of such feelings. In the squeals of excitement from adult people coming into contact with baby people. In my trips into stores with small clothing where babyless friends wanted to stop by “just to look.” In the faces on mothers and grandmothers lighting up whenever those little rugrats were mentioned.
I just never understand what all the hubbub was about. (of course admitting this this to anyone would be social suicide. Not liking babies is as offensive and alienating as hating bacon or using your instead of you’re.)
To me baby shoes were just small versions of regular shoes, babies dind’t really do much besides cry and poop and the only decent thing a baby could do was turn 2 and become a toddler.
I always loved kids and sure, I wanted some one day but I wasn’t in any hurry, at all.
I’d been married for about 9 months when I found out I was pregnant.
Very much by accident.
I was petrified.
I knew it was a blessing to have a baby and I didn’t want to be ungrateful but I wasn’t ready.
I wanted the test to be wrong. I wanted to turn back time. I did not want to be a mother, yet. I had more life to live!
Among my biggest fears was the thought that I would never again have my own identity, I’d go from being someone to just being someone’s mom.
As my pregnancy carried on, my fears grew.
I’ve heard people say that they were never warned about how difficult parenting is.
That baffles me.
My experience was exactly the opposite. I was constantly being warned.
“Keep that baby in as long as you can!”
“Have fun now, because once the baby comes..”
“You’ll never sleep again.”
And it seemed like all I ever saw were kids throwing fits and frazzled worn out parents.
I also noticed that when parents talked positively about parenthood they mostly spoke about how much they love their kids. I started forming the idea that, sure, they love their kids a bunch which is why they are willing to suffer through the parenting thing. That was how I explained the people in my family who were claiming that they liked the gig.
My anxiety was growing.
I remember a day (at probably 8 months along) sitting in the break room at work with a co-worker who had a one year old.
“Are you excited?” he asked me.
Instead of the instinctive “Yes, of course!” I had adopted, I leveled with him.
“Tell me honestly, I know you love your child but the parenting part… is it awful?”
I’ll never forget his response. His eyes lit up.
“It’s not. It’s the most amazing thing in the world. It gets better every day. I’ve never been happier.”
I don’t know why he had such a big effect on me. I guess he was just so dang convincing. This guy was a straight shooter, I hoped he was telling the truth.
A month or so later I went into labor.
Christian was 3 weeks early. When he came out he was grunting, which meant that his lungs weren’t fully developed.
They whisked him away before I really had a chance to see him.
After a very short nap I scooted out of bed, showered and hobbled upstairs to the NICU.
As I sat next to his incubator, stroked his tiny hands and stared at his perfect little face I felt a kind of love that I had never even been able to imagine before. I think my heart had to grow two sizes to even fit it all in. The next two weeks I spent every waking moment in that chair and would always cry when I had to leave at night. I didn’t want to be away from him for a second.
When I took him home I checked his car seat maybe 30 times. Even though I lived about two blocks away from the hospital I couldn’t believe that I was expected to just drive him home, cars around me seemed to be going recklessly fast! Outside the parking lot I took 4 right turns around the block to avoiding making one left into an intersection.
In the next few months I learned to identify the glazing over of eyeballs that would signify that my story about his (undeniably adorable) squeals had gone on too long. I couldn’t pay attention to movies for more than five minutes at a time without taking a break to stare at him, even when he was sleeping. He was a colicky baby and cried constantly but when this was mentioned I came quickly to his defense “He’s so good, he doesn’t cry like this all the time.” I almost died when I found a pair of baby pants at H&M with cuffs and suspenders. YES, LITTLE BABY SUSPENDERS!
Much to my bewilderment, I had turned into a bonafide, baby lovin’ fool.
He’ll turn 3 this fall.
My experience as his mother so far has been an absolute delight.
I thank god for Christian every single night.
He didn’t rob me of my dreams he added to them.
I used to be someone. Now I am someone who is also someone’s mother.
I’m not saying it isn’t a big job, I’m just saying …
it’s the best one I’ve ever had.