I don’t remember much after I had my first baby. I have snippets of moments here and there that constitute my first few weeks. Mostly, the memories have slipped away from me as the months go by; it all feels distant as faded memories often feel.
I remember it being a blur and feeling very much like the morning after a crazy night of drinking; disoriented and a little lost. Though you are spared from a terrible hangover and your underpants are not hanging from a ceiling fan, you are running on adrenaline and coffee and are currently on your fourth pair of sweatpants; the others have become tragic victims of projectile vomit. I would tell myself: “Just a few more days and then I will get the hang of this.”
I remember getting through the first few weeks was something I simply just did. I didn’t start to realize how exhausting it was until the third month when I was warming up a bottle in the wee hours of the morning and wondering if I was the only person in my neighborhood that was awake at this hour. I finally discovered what the cat does at 4:00 a.m. and wished she’d be more considerate and take a feeding shift or fold some laundry. I would tell myself: “Just a few more weeks and then I’ll be able to sleep through the night.”
I remember how quickly the fear and insecurity of being a mom faded as I realized that my baby didn’t know any more about being in this world than I did about raising her or caring for her. Which is probably a good thing. Nothing could be worse for your confidence then your four-week-old baby looking at you and saying, “Look, I’m just going to level with you here. You kind of suck at this.” We were in this thing together with about the same level of experience. I would tell myself: “Just a few more months and then I’ll wonder how I ever thought I wasn’t capable of doing this.”
I remember the middle of the night feedings. While the world was still and slept, it was just my baby and I. I would hold her tightly up against me for up to an hour after she was fed. Sure, I could have easily used that extra hour to sleep, but instead, I would rock her. I would smell her hair and nuzzle my cheek against hers feeling her warm, soft skin that smelled of baby shampoo and the remnants of milk lingering on her breath. I would listen to her softly breathing while I studied every single feature of her peaceful little face. I would tell myself: “Just a few more minutes and then I’ll go to bed.”