Monday, July 15, 2013

How does it feel to have a baby?

I was at a wedding this weekend and was randomly seated next to an old friend from college. We were catching up and when I said I was good friends with the bride from elementary school, he asked if my parents were there.

"No, they are at home with my son", I answered.
Austin vs, Plums
Shocked he repeated - "You have a son!? That's crazy....What is it like to have a kid?"

To be honest, this was the first time I had ever been asked that question. Sure, my friends asked about child birth, the pain, the process, and all the sexiness that comes with labor but how does it feel to actually bring him home and be yours - forever?

"Well, to be honest - it was hard for me at first". I explained. "One minute he wasn't there and then he is and your whole world is changed".
I explained that little things we take for granted, like running to Walgreens for toothpaste, are now pain-in-the-ass tasks. Sleeping, at first, is a blessing long taken for granted, and no matter how prepared you thought you were - you aren't.

Then there is the baby itself. In one of Jenny McCarthy's books she describes a newborn as a blob, and as bad as it sounds - I have to agree. Your newborn doesn't laugh, smile, or cuddle. He is crinkly, confusing, and indifferent to all of your parenting efforts. Cry, Eat, Sleep, Rinse, Repeat. You are at the mercy of this pattern during those early days and you might feel selfish as you think about all the new sacrifices you will need to make for the rest of your life (pause for dramatic effect).

As a new mom, you are wiped out and the new dad is overwhelmed. You will have a "what have we done" moment, maybe more than once and wonder when this baby's "real parents" are coming to pick him up.

Then - something wonderful happens -

At two months or so, your baby smiles at you and you are in love. A different love than you feel for your husband and your parents. This kind of love consumes you, your parent-dar is in full swing, you understand that "take-a-bullet" feeling.
Your body swells with this new feeling and you aren't even sure where it came from but it is over powering. You wonder how you ever lived without this little person in your life and you vow to never miss a moment with him. Of course, you relish in his nap time, but you melt when his eyes open and he smiles at you, when he reaches for you, when he holds on tight. When people ask, "will you have a second baby?", you honestly answer - "I don't know. I love my son so much - I don't know if I can make more love". You are brimming with warm fuzzies - your blood has transformed to warm milk and honey, your body is a pillow for your little man, your arms are a blanket, a shield, a fortress.

The smiles turn into laughs, your baby recognizes your face, your voice, your smell. You find yourself revolving your day around hugs, kisses, and playtime, and you love it.

That is what its like to have a kid.