About half the day, I feel like this: "What? I don't want him to grow up! Yeah, he's so cute. Oh I love you cute little smiles. OH MY GOSH! I want him to stay little!"
Then there are inevitably a few hours of the day, when Noah is sobbing and hasn't slept in hours and he's looking at me like I should know what to do but I don't, when I just doubt everything. I hate myself when I wish away these parts of babyhood because I love my baby. I love the elusive smiles we're starting to get. I love knowing that bresatfeeding is finally going well enough that he's getting rolls on his legs. But then I hate that we just spent our last night in newborn sleepers and newborn-sized diapers.
I love his big blue eyes and his tiny baby fists, knowing that both those things will change at any moment as my infant moves into bigger babyhood. I love his wiggles and his shouts and the thousands of facial expressions he makes, but I hate not knowing what he's actually saying.
This morning, Noah is sleeping wrapped in a Moby wrap on my chest and I'm afraid to move too much or make too much noise, because sleep is a rare and wonderful thing for him. I just read this beautiful post, and I can't stop reading it. The author's way of putting words to some of my current feelings is so phenomenal-- I want to remember what stands out to me here:
"Before I was a parent, I was the perfect one. People told me my life would change. People told me I would be tired. That parenthood would be the greatest and hardest thing I would ever do.
Yeah yeah yeah.
I know. I know.
I knew everything.
...Then in a blink, (he) was here. (He) was tiny and marveling. (He) was so incredibly beautiful. (He) was perfect.But wait.
I am not ready.
This is so hard.
I am so tired.
Why hadn't anyone prepared me for this?I. Know. Nothing....The love you will feel is nothing like you have felt before. It will be foreign and familiar all at once. It will fill you to the very top of your heart, nearly spilling over. The thing about this kind of love, though, is that it can feel heavy. Disproportional. You may feel like you will nearly break in half from the top-heaviness. You will not be able to tell the difference between exhaustion and depression, and that darkness will rob you from what should be the most tender months of your (son's) new life.Your baby will cry, a lot. Your days will both begin and end with the saddest screams you will ever hear. Your body will respond the way that it is programmed to - with panic....This love will crush your ego. It will destroy your capability to trust yourself. The fear that creeps in the shadows of this love will paralyze you... You will feel guilty for not measuring up. You will feel guilty for feeling guilty. You will feel guilty for feeling guilty for feeling guilty. You will cry over absurd things, like not being pregnant anymore... You may never feel like you will get the hang of carrying this love."
That's exactly where I am. I want to love every minute of the newborn stage because I know it's fleeting. But I don't love thrush. And it's hard to hang out with an overtired baby who's refusing to take a nap. And I never thought I would doubt everything like I do. When I was pregnant, I joked that I don't know what to do with a toddler but hey, I can keep a baby alive.
I never knew that I'd question his eating and sleeping so much. That I'd wonder if I was too boring alone in a quiet house with him. That when I stopped setting an alarm at night for him to eat, I'd spend the night waking up every few hours anyway to make sure he was still breathing and wasn't crying and eventually I'd wake him up to eat anyway, ruining what may very well have been his first night to sleep through the night (that was last night).
I thought I'd relish holding him all day and didn't realize that it would be excruciating on my upper back. I didn't realize that sometimes I'd have to decide between being using my hands to prepare food for lunch, or having a quiet baby.
I didn't realize that I'd love him so much it would scare me and make me doubt everything I did.
I got that breath of air at 6 weeks just long enough to gather strength to go back under. I didn't know it would be this hard.
But I do know that I love him fiercely and it's an honor to be his mom.