"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Love My Baby

Sure, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I love my baby, but it's not as simple as you might think.

When I first saw my baby (and I'm not talking about the alien-in-the-ultrasound baby), I had no idea what to think of him. Sure, I had spent the months prior to his birth wondering what it would be like to be a mom, what it would be like to finally hold him and have him in my arms. And I didn't believe the teachers at the baby care classes I went to about the whole bonding thing and that the first moments after birth were important to both mom and baby. I thought, what would be so hard about liking him?

Well, was I in for a shock.

The first time I held my baby was after three and a half hours of labor and delivery, and nearly twenty-four hours practically strapped to a bed (sure, I wasn't strapped down, but they wouldn't let me get up). So I looked at my baby and after thinking, you know, he really does look like the little alien from his ultrasound photos, he was just that to me: an alien.

And truthfully, I wanted nothing to do with him.

I had no idea what to do. Luckily, the nurses knew what I had to do, and soon it was time to feed him. Then everybody left, and it was just the three of us (me, baby, and daddy). The last thing I thought before falling asleep was the first thing I thought when I woke up: I have a baby (with a sense of dread) and I am way too young for this.

Now, almost five months later, I can look at my baby, look at the way he's sleeping so peacefully, and still think I have a baby. But instead of that same sense of dread as I first had, I have more of this calming, relaxing, sense of peace.

Sure, there are time when I still think I am way too young for this (being a mom), but I'm starting to get used to it. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it, but there's no going back. There's no changing what has happened. It's simultaneously the scariest and more awe inspiring thing that has ever happened to me. I worry about the future, and what kind of boy, and eventually what kind of man he'll be and know that that will be a direct result of how I raise him (and sure my husband will be helping too, but I'm the one staying home with him day after day). But then I think of all the work I had to go through to get to this point, all the nights of hardly any sleep, all the difficulties feeding him, all the thoughts of having absolutely no idea what to do with him, and yet, I think, if I can make it through all that, what can't I make it through? Some days, that thought is barely enough to keep me going. Especially when I think that there couldn't possibly be any end to whatever's happening.

But then, the baby falls asleep. And it's like the world is so peaceful, time slows down, and it seems like this should never end.

And those are the moments that make it all worth it.

When you can look at his sleeping face and know that after all the fussing and all the crying and all the not knowing how to help him and all the feeling helpless and not knowing what to do that you know that there will eventually be a moment where it's all over, where he's sleeping, and there's just this sense of rightness with the world.

It's those moments that allow me to realize that everything I do for him, all the stress I put myself through, is just because I love him.

It's those moments that I look forward to. When I look at my baby, think I made that, and smile. Where sometimes I want nothing more than to just let his sleep peacefully on my lap because there's nothing else I have to do with him.

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