This story may or may not be inspired by actual events.
If you give a mom a newborn baby, she will feel equal parts elated and exhausted. It won’t matter if it’s her first baby or her last; her feelings will be the same.
Yet, even though she is exhausted, she will not rest. She will stay awake, staring at her baby. She will feel so inadequate and so in love. She might co-sleep with her baby, or she might put him in a crib, but she will not rest.
Because she does not rest, she will begin to lose her mind. She will also lose her car keys, her shoes, and the cup of coffee she just had in her hand. Her only comfort will be that she has not lost her baby.
Because she is losing her mind, she will begin to cry.
Because she is crying, her baby will cry, too. To keep him from crying, she will begin to nurse. But if nursing is not her jam, she will offer him a bottle, which he will projectile vomit all over her shirt right after he has finished drinking. After asking Dr. Google what sort of life threatening illness her baby must have (turns out it’s just reflux), she will decide to change.
Because she needs to change, she will head to her closet and find she has nothing to wear. Post-baby, all of her shirts are too tight or too stained to be seen in public. A trip to Target is obviously in order.
Because she must head to Target, she will throw a denim jacket on over her messy shirt and locate her lost keys and shoes.
Once at Target, she will decide that two shopping carts are necessary. One for her baby’s car seat and one for new shirts. She will pull one cart and push the other. Everything will be under control because her name is Mom.
Because everything is under control, strangers will smile at her as they pass. She will find several new shirts (of the extra flowy variety), and she will feel like a champion. In that moment, she will be WINNING at life.
Because she is winning at life, she will head to the check out with a smile on her face. Only she will be so caught up in her joy of being a shirt shopping champion, she will fail to realize she now has only one shopping cart in her possession, instead of two. And it’s not the cart that contains her baby.
Once in the check out line, she will remember that she could really use some more dark chocolate, because hormones.
Because she needs more chocolate, she will exit the check out and make her way back through the store. On her way to the candy aisle, she will notice a shopping cart near the dressing rooms surrounded by employees in red shirts.
Because she is a concerned citizen, she will stop and stare.
Because she is staring, she will see that there is a car seat in the cart. She will realize that someone has left a baby in a shopping cart at Target, and she will wonder what this world is coming to. She will want to hold her own baby close.
Because she wants to hold her baby, she will reach for the cart that she assumes is behind her, but her hand will come up empty. For a moment she will panic, but then she will KNOW. That is her baby in the abandoned cart.
Because that is her baby, she cannot crawl into a hole. Retreating is not an option.
Because she cannot retreat, she will march toward her baby, head held high, and proclaim to the employees that the baby is hers. Her face will match the color of their red shirts.
Because there is a God, the employees will hand over her baby without question. She will pick her baby up (because shopping carts are now dead to her), and she will exit the store as quickly as possible.
Upon her return home, her husband will meet her at the door. She will hand him the baby before locking herself in the bathroom to cry. She will vow never to have another baby again. Her husband will ask what he can do to help, and she will tell him that chocolate is the only answer, but they are out.
Eventually, time will pass, and the baby will sleep through the night. Most of her memory will return, her old shirts will fit, and she will be brave enough to show her face in Target once more. The newborn haze will lift, and she will forget her vow never to have another baby.
And because she has forgotten, two years later, the doctor will hand her…