I actually like this baby thing. I don’t just mean my squishy little cuddly man.
Who wouldn’t like that?! But I mean the whole process of having a baby.
I mean, pregnancy is not much fun. With the nausea, heartburn, discomfort, all-around hugeness, skin changes, mood changes, etc, etc, etc, it’s hard to like pregnancy. Still, I know that I appreciate things more when I’ve worked hard for them, and babies are no exception!
Except for my first, I’ve had really easy labors and deliveries. And even the first time around could have been worse. I love that time spent in the hospital with a new baby. I don’t know if it’s the euphoria of having a new little baby to cuddle and love, or if it’s the euphoria of the pain medication, but I love it.
Maybe it’s my OCD nature, but I love how things get progressively better as you go through the first year after having a baby. It starts with recovering from giving birth. The epidural wears off and you can walk again. You have a routine of caring for yourself that involves pads and sprays and ice packs, etc, which you drop off one by one as you heal and no longer need them. You wean yourself off the pain meds after a few days. You eventually start to add exercise back in. And hopefully eventually you are back to wearing your old favorite clothing.
It’s the same process with the newborn. They start being awake more during the day and sleeping longer at night. Then they become more social with smiles and laughs. Then they start to eat solid foods. Before you know it, they are rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and walking. Then in a blink of an eye they are a toddler. Then they are heading off to school!
I’m fascinated by how things can be so crazy on day one and how they get just a little better and a little easier each and every day.
There’s something about the postpartum period…maybe it’s just the crazy hormones, but everything is intensified. Feelings of love and protectiveness for my baby. Food tastes better (yes, I’m still raving about the hospital meals). Even the sadness, the “baby blues,” are intense but somewhat comforting.
I once had a student who looked sad, and I asked her what was the matter. She responded by saying that she was “sappy.” Another student informed me that that meant “sad and happy at the same time.” I think that’s a good way to describe the postpartum period. I feel sad and happy at the same time, a lot of the time. I recognize these feelings from when I had my other kids. It’s comfortingly familiar. I feel it a lot when nursing the baby, which gives further evidence to the idea that it’s due to crazy hormones. It’s like a wave of emotion. “Sappy.”
Often I nurse the baby in the early morning hours, and if he has trouble falling back asleep, I bring him into my bed and we cuddle and fall asleep together. It is the most wonderful, delicious thing in the world. I know I will miss it when the baby stage is over.
I make babies. I think it’s what I was meant to do.