A couple days ago I walked into the pediatricians' office with my daughter and baby boy, and my eyes zereod in on the newborn baby with wide eyes being held by her Mama. I was so fascinated by the little creature that I gazed at her all the way to the reception desk and ignored the receptionist for several minutes while I stared in open admiration at the darling baby.
"How old?" I asked the mother.
"Six weeks," was the reply. Then mama was distracted because her newborn spit up all over her.
But I was already reliving my days with my own newborns. The heady, exhausting days in the hospital (getting to know you, getting to know all about you!) when I didn't sleep for two days because I was either staring at my baby or nursing her. I was even romanticizing my labor with each of my children - the uncontrollable shaking, the screaming (for which I always apologized afterwards - until the air was pierced by another primordial howl), slapping my husband in rhythm to the contractions and chewing on his baseball cap or hand. Oh, what fond, fond memories!
This is bad. Very bad. I can't have another one, and my youngest is only six months. Why would I want to have another one? My little guy's teething, and I'm getting no sleep. But I can't help myself; I know my days of welcoming a newborn baby into this world are quite over, and I'm already lamenting it.
When my son's appointment was done and my daughter was playing in the playground outside the doctor's office, I called my husband and told him how I felt.
"I just saw a newborn baby, and..."
"No," he said.
"Oh, honey, this baby was so alert. And tiny!"
"And there are all these lovely pregnant women walking out of the obstetrics office next door..."
"But wasn't I lovely when I was pregnant?"
"Yes, but no, no and no. We're not having another baby. We're done!"
Of course we are. I know that...I guess.
But I just can't believe I'm already one of those women: the kind that turn into goo over a freshly minted human being. But I am. I think it's chronic, and it'll only get worse as my children get older.
Because, you see, I am also one of those women who actually enjoyed being pregnant. Well, after the nausea, vomiting, emotional upheaval and bizarre sensitivity to smell was done with, anyway. Just knowing a baby was growing within me made me joyful, but when I could actually feel them move? Forget about it! That was the best, and I looooved it.
In fact, I've always wondered why men are not insanely jealous of this experience. But, oddly they don't seem to be at all.
"Aren't you jealous?" I've asked my husband and even my brother-in-law Jon.
Both looked perplexed by the question, and answered with the same slow, "Uh, no-o-o..." accompanied by the all too familiar you're-a-crazy-lady look.
Well, they don't know what they're missing. I mean once you get through the pain of labor and the haze of many, many sleepless nights, you realize what an extraordinary gift you've been given by being able to carry a baby within you. You know your arms are the grace God intended for that child on their birthday. And you remember that every time you're compelled to ask forgiveness for losing your temper and each time you're on your knees pleading for more patience.
But don't I know that our family is complete? Yes.
And I'm going to be honest here; pregnancy does remarkably bizarre things to your body. I'm not walking around in a size 10 shoe for nothing, baby! Also, various parts of my body resemble human cheese cloth, now. Truly, though, I'm proud of those silvery shadows on my skin. My stretch marks are proof of my remarkable experience!
Still, perhaps that's why men don't envy us the experience. They're able to keep their boyish figures - the vain creatures! But that's alright, because we can walk past them with our stretched skin, our paddle feet (oh, is that just me?), and our hard-working breasts and think with a smile, "I know something you don't know!"
And if you're a mom, you know exactly what I mean.
Dedicated to my Grandmama Asher