This is apparently my week for dusting off old posts. I was going through my old blog and found this post from 2010. And, well, I like it. Motherhood was not an instant just-add-baby experience for me, and I figure I’m not the only one who didn’t live up to common assumptions.
In 2010, Bookgirl was 9; Gamerboy was 8; Sparkler was 4; and Ranger was a very busy 1.
When I was pregnant with Bookgirl, this is what I heard:
* It’s the most incredible emotional experience when they first place that baby in your arms!
* After the first few days, you won’t even be able to imagine life without her!
* Enjoy that baby stage! It goes by so quickly!
(Not all remarks were positive, of course. There’s always the obnoxious slap-on-the-back “haha call me in eighteen years when you get some sleep again!” one. People who say this to a pregnant woman have a specially reserved room in purgatory.)
In the fullness of time, my daughter was born. They placed her in my arms. I waited for the incredible rush of joy and emotion. Mostly I just felt awkward. Who is this baby and why is everybody calling me her mom? She was darn cute, that was for sure, but I felt like her aunt, not her mother.
Of course it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with little Bookgirl. But not imagining life without her? Well, actually, DJ and I clearly remembered life without her and we missed aspects of it.
At least I could enjoy the baby stage. Except that, um, I don’t much like babies. While I loved the person Bookgirl was becoming, she really wasn’t a very exciting companion.
Was I a complete washout as a mother?
Then I had Gamerboy. It was a long labor that ended up being a section, and I felt miserable and battered afterward. But when DJ brought over that wrapped-up bundle and held him so I, flat on the operating table, could see him, joy and love welled up in me. Later, after I could sit up and hold him, I simply couldn’t get over what a wonderful child — my child — he was. This was the rush I’d heard about. In my case, I just had to learn what a baby was before I could appreciate it.
With Sparkler, my highest-maintenance, non-sleeping child, I enjoyed the baby stage thoroughly. I knew what to do with her, and I knew it would all pass — the good as well as the inconvenient.
And Ranger? Ranger slipped so seamlessly into our lives and into my heart that when I was mentally reviewing 2009, I at first couldn’t think of anything particularly amazing that happened. Eventually I remembered: I’d given birth to another son. But I honestly forgot he hadn’t been with us forever. I couldn’t imagine life without him.
As it turned out, all those things people said were true. It just took me four babies to get to them all.