Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Almost Said It.

I met Braxton last night, a long-awaited newborn who is 15 days old.  He was wide awake and snuggly.  I pulled out all my best newborn tricks when he started to cry, and I assured his mom that as long as she felt comfortable, I wasn't really at all afraid of fussing baby boys.  I'm highly familiar.

And then I remembered that sometimes the only thing the baby boy wants is his momma, not any fancy tricks from some lady who thinks she knows the drill.  I waved the white flag, handed all ten pounds of him back to his mom, and he quieted as soon as he heard the voice he had been listening to for nine months.

I remembered those earliest of days when Robb and I were new parents, when we felt like we were staying up all night at the best slumber party ever.  I listened to Braxton's parents talk about his midnight routines, about tears pouring down her face from utter exhaustion at 2 AM. 

And I almost said, "Enjoy it.  Enjoy this sacred season.  Enjoy every minute."

But then I remembered the truth: the season is sacred and fleeting, but it's not every-moment-enjoyable. 

Sometimes she'll be just so utterly exhausted that she can't see straight or think clearly. 
She'll have spit-up spots on her shirts for the next eight months. 
She's going to get peed on and pooped on. 
She'll add 'go to the bathroom' to her list of things to do today, just so she can feel a measure of productivity.
She'll cry a lot, she won't know why, and Braxton's dad will have to learn to take the unspoken cues from a walking rollercoaster of hormones.

She will wear her heart outside her body, from this day forward. 
She will learn the difference between his hungry cry, his angry cry, and his scared cry. 
She will hear him learn his voice and her name. 
She will have some really great moments.

But they might be scattered between some long stretches of really, really hard.

So I didn't say it.  I didn't say, "Enjoy every minute,"  because I only felt maternal guilt when people told me to enjoy a minute that I was wishing to skip past.

I said, "I bet you're so tired.  You'll find your stride.  But it's going to be great.  And you'll get some sleep again someday. It's okay if you don't love being awake at 2 AM.  It doesn't mean you don't love him.  And congratulations, new mom.  You look like a total pro."


Cheryl said...

How sweet! Great words of honesty AND encouragement! Though strangely enough, with my last baby (realizing that he would most likely be my last), I didn't mind those middle of the night wake up calls or the sleeplessness. I guess after 25 years of mothering, I've come to realize how quickly it really does pass. All. Too. Soon.

Melissa said...

Thank you. :-) Just...thank you. Having gone through that phase pretty recently myself, it's refreshing to read those words.

Ellery said...

I definitely cried reading this. I have a 16 month old and I'm getting ready to embark on the newborn ride again. I remember how hard it was and how hard it will be. You're right, not every moment is enjoyable, but this season does go by so very quickly!