I went to visit a friend today – a fellow new momma whose daughter was born a week ago.
I see her little girl, small as a pea, and awe at the fact that once, a very short while ago, my daughter was her same size (minus one ounce), and I felt like she was huge.
We both laugh as we express how awkwardly amazing it is that such a creature can grow and live inside us and come out looking so…like a human. The whole thing seeming so alienesk.
We also agree that single mothers, teen moms, and mothers with twins are a special breed of strong. How oh how do they ever do it? And Octomom? The only comfort there is that at least she didn’t have to do it all again (although I think she dared and did), which was the first cohesive thought I had after my daughter was born (through a no-drug, completely natural birth) “do I have to do this again?” Emphasis on the “again.”
As my friend sits sweating while trying to nurse her tiny girl under an all too large makeshift nursing-cover/blanket, she asks “is it just me or is it hot in here?” And as I offer to open windows that are already open I can’t help but laugh out loud and express my sentiments. I too had never felt hotter in my life than when I first started nursing my daughter. And not the sexy kind of hotter.
And as we pull off the darn cover and push aside her thick wavy hair to let in some fresh air, we hurdle with a too-full breast and a too-small mouth and I can feel her momxiety over this incredibly tender new role as Feeder. I then ask about her latch and we play Show and Tell while poking and prodding at her nipple and baby-girl’s mouth, suddenly skipping all stages of formality: My hand on her boob and her hand squeezing like “a taco,” while baby girl, mouth open, tries to plug into the golden socket.
I’m convinced the best of friends are born in the most awkward of situations…even though it doesn’t feel awkward at the moment, but rather natural to help her adjust her nipple into her daughters mouth, it’s like this – Motherhood forces this unbelievable and immediate bond between women that usually starts in the context of squirting boobs, enlarged areolas, blackened nipples (thanks hormones), and Perennial tear.
And, it’s fun to mention that while mommy conversations sound a little like this: “did you feel like your spine was going to come out of your butt-hole while you pushed?” [total serious face] “yes, and when the placenta plopped out my vagina was on fire” [sympathetic pat on the knee] “yes, I know. I really understand honey;” Fatherhood bonding sounds more like this: “yeah dude I watched the whole thing come out; so much blood” [squeamish face] “yeah man, me too” [squirming shoulders] “so how’s about that possible Laker’s trade?” [fist to hand slap] “I dunno about that bro, oh and we did skin-to-skin,” [checking phone for texts] “yeah, us too.” Oh bless their throbbing daddy hearts!
Suddenly, as we yap away about how My Breast Friend nursing pillow sucks and the Luna Lullaby is a must, my friend’s daughter mini-projectiles her lunch. My friend’s attention rapidly shifts to her little one, and I listen as she stumbles over her own words and says things like — “this has never happened before,” and “I’m so sorry little sweetie was that too much milk,” and “baby girl let’s go change you,” and “maybe the pillow wasn’t inclined properly,” and “I hope you’re ok,” and, “are you ok?” and…as I hear her debate out loud while trying to channel her inner Midwife, I travel in time and hear myself, just a few months back, also debate out loud about something as simple and natural as a spit-up. Which, at the time, seemed to me like time slowed down so I could contemplate, like Plato or Socrates, the existential nature of baby vomit.
Hearing her talk to her daughter in that way was incredibly endearing, but more than anything, reassuring. Perhaps, in retrospect, the things I rumble on about NOW, those things that make me sweat and keep me up at night reading parenting articles on The Huffington Post, later on will seem as simple and natural as a spit-up.
I follow my dear friend into another room to search for a clean onsie, and we enter her safe little nook, her nest, her baby white haven, and an inner sigh runs down my throat because I miss the feeling that, for those first few weeks after baby is born, the earth slows it’s rotations so you can hide-out, cuddle, feed, rest, and stare at the living definition of a Miracle (or insert “baby alien” here – that works too) that you’ve created.
As the visit comes to a close, after what was a two-hour lifetime of amazing mommy ranter, fully-focused information exchange, and uh’s and ah’s galore, my beautiful friend looks up at me with tired eyes and it hit me like the smell of baby poo once your child starts eating solids: You’ll never stop being tired.
Once you become a mom you never stop being anxious or stop asking questions (even long after you’ve removed your kids newborn tags.) You will feel fears and worries, you will have that constant chatter in your head about vomit, or snot, or food, or diapers, reviews, articles, or other mom advice; it will just evolve and become manageable.
Regardless of the constant looming uncertainty, the unending sleepless nights, the moments of unbearable exhaustion, the always-full laundry basket, and the freak-outs because there aren’t enough hours in the day to separate into piles the 3-6 month clothes from the 6-9 from the 9-12, all you have to do is follow that ever circulating advice that “this too shall pass,” and know that the only teacher we really have (besides Google), is Time.
I still feel like a brand new mom (even though sometimes the world suggests my 6-month Thumbelina is already a grown-up), but as I step out of my friends house, my daughter in the Ergo, my hubby carrying the diaper bag, our free hands holding, the newborn stage far behind us, I take a deep long breath and think to myself “I really want to do this again.”