Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Mom is Born

On Friday, two of my dear friends, both coincidentally named Jessica but unknown to each other, gave birth to their babies. One had a daughter -- her firstborn. One had a son -- her fourth baby, and fourth son. Congratulations to both of them!

Then yesterday, a friend brought her six-week-old firstborn over to get a little help learning to use her sling. Her baby was, as mine were at that age, a bit on the fussy side, and it brought back so many memories. Whenever a friend of mine gives birth to their first baby, and especially when the transition is a bit rocky (is it ever otherwise?), it's like instant transport for me -- back to those early days of Ian's life as a human and my life as a mother. I can still remember where I was sitting on that first night home from the hospital when it hit me like a strollerload of bricks: my life had changed forever, this was now a 24-hour commitment, I couldn't just go to bed, kiss this baby goodnight, and say "see you in the morning, when I'm well-rested, honey!" And I couldn't send him back! Panic would be an appropriate descriptor for that moment.

But we got through it, I learned quickly to live, albeit more moodily, on two hour chunks of sleep, and as I fell in love with my baby it made those moments of complete helplessness, when nothing I could do seemed to make him that happy, easygoing baby other people seemed to tote around, less overwhelming and more just part of the package. And now here he is, seven years old, and I've done it twice more!

But every time I talk to a new mom and she says, semi-quaveringly, something along the lines of, "What am I supposed to DO with him?" or "I just didn't realize how much my life would change," I'm there again. Everything one could say, from "welcome to the club!" to "but it's so worth it" to "don't worry, it gets better" seems so cliché that the best I can do is trust her to learn those truths for herself and just say, "I know exactly what you mean."


Jenny said...

Takes me back as well...

Naomi said...

I found this post very comforting. I enjoy reading about your present-day trials with older kids. But I've often wondered or wanted to ask you about those early days - I like being reassured and comforted by hearing how others have gone before me. I've assumed it with you, since you know, you have 3 kids, but it was good to really hear it.