I don’t LOVE the newborn stage. I just don’t. When I confess this, I usually get the same reaction: shock, dismay, and a twinge of pity. But, every once and a while, I meet another mom whose eyes light up as they say “ME, TOO!”
I’ve decided that most women fall in one camp or the other. It’s like black licorice – you either love it or you hate it. This is not to say that the idea of newborns makes me want to gag. Trust me, I had plenty of moments oggling my own baby when he was only weeks old. I didn’t hate life. I didn’t hate my baby. In fact, it all seemed great.
Until I learned better.
Looking back, I think of the newborn days like I think of middle school. Sure, there were some great memories. Sure, at the time it seemed fine, even great. I didn’t have any real trauma. In fact, I would say I was pretty lucky on both fronts. I thought I was really rocking it. BUT NOW I KNOW THE TRUTH. I still wouldn’t go back to either of those times in my life if you paid me.
I know, I know, “One day you’ll look back when he’s all grown up and want to just snuggle him again!” I’m sure that’s true. But, I think it’s more true that on his wedding day I’ll most likely be remembering the day the entire family was giggling uncontrollably on the floor because he purposefully farted on my face (yes, ON.) Maybe it will be more sentimental than that. Maybe it will be when he told me he loved me for the first time. Whatever memories flash through my head, I just can’t imagine any of them being from those first few weeks or months.
What about the first moment you saw him?
I literally thought, “Oh crap, he’s crying already and it’s MY job to fix it! Oh, and look, he’s got hair.”
What about the smell of a newborn?
I’ll just buy some baby lotion thank you very much.
What about when he grasped your finger for the first time?
Eh, it was a reflex. I was closer to tears the first time he asked to wear a bowtie on a random Wednesday.
I know I’m not the only one. I’ve met you – lots of you. Women who love their littles, but prefer them when they have a few tricks: like eye contact, or smiling for something beyond gas, or the ability to JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT. That’s do-able. Even if what you want is ridiculous. A toddler throwing a fit becasue I “broke” his toast by cutting it is something I can work with. A bundle of “careful, I break in 17 ways and I think day is night and there’s really nothing you can do about it” is not.
I’ll be genuinely excited for you when YOU have a baby. When I tell you how cute they are, I’m not lying. It’s authentic when I ask to hold them and I tell you how sweet they are. You’re just not going to hear me say, “Oh I miss this age so much!”
Because I don’t.
And that’s OK.
To all the other mamas whose ovaries don’t ache when they see a newborn: you are not alone! Let those other moms ooh and ahh over the squishy rolls and the floppy neck…or whatever it is that they all find so appealing.