When I talk about baby matters, I get some interesting reactions. Sprinkled amongst the many supportive “congratulations” and “I want to bite that baby’s cute fat cheeks off“s are some strangely off-putting responses, and they seem to fall into two categories. At one end of the spectrum we have the “If You Think This Is Bad” spoilsports. On the flip side are the “Surely You’ve Never Loved Like This Before?” unsinkables. And even though one is pessimism embodied and the other is the purest expression of incomparable, undiluted love, I find them both equally disheartening.
Say I announce at the water cooler that pregnancy is killing me with its stupid two-to-three-hours-of-sleep insomnia. The spoilsports hop gleefully in to announce that if I’m suffering now, just wait until the baby gets here! At which time I can kiss all sleep goodbye, and also travel, reading, any and all me time, and happiness in general!
Since I’m barely hanging in here as it is, baby-having wise, it’s never fun to hear that things are going to be even darker just around the corner. Maybe I should give up now?
Or maybe, maybe it doesn’t always get harder? Or, if it does, my parenting skills might evolve to keep pace with the baby’s spiraling degrees of difficulty? But somehow those encouraging words never seem to be part of the message. Why are these spoilsports so fired up to inform me how in for it I am? Maybe they just want someone to keep them company in their hard, cold Legion of Doom?
Meanwhile I post new chunky, pink baby photos online, and the unsinkables rush to gush about the new levels of love I’m surely achieving.
Now. When we birthed this baby, after the midwives and cheerleaders had all cleared out, I quietly confessed to Marco, “You know how everyone says that the moment your baby is born, you feel a love like no other? Yeah, I didn’t feel that.” Don’t get me wrong! I was very happy when the baby was born. I just wasn’t euphoric like all the books and movies and Friends episodes had prepared me for.
I’ve definitely grown to love him, over time. (Especially now that my tore up vagina’s all good and healed!) But it hasn’t exactly been rainbows and bunny bellies…parenting is hard. So hard! And there are times when I love the baby a ton, like when he’s…sleeping. Or when I squeeze his soft, chubby American thighs. Or when he laughs and shrugs his shoulders and makes his cheeseburger face. But there are also times when I like him a whole lot less, like when he’s bolt-upright awake at wrong-thirty in the morning, or when he’s vociferously refusing to take his bottle from the nanny-share nanny so she has to call me and I have to race back over to the nanny-share house to coax him into taking it, thereby negating the many positives of paying for childcare.
So when someone goes to bond with me over how amazing and transcendental it all is, I don’t really relate. And not being able to relate to that sunny sentiment makes me feel like a heartless alien robot by comparison.
A heartless and clearly doomed alien robot.More words on: babytime