When I see a cute cooing newborn, my heart melts. I want to hold it and smell it and kiss it and stare at it for hours. Sweet little newborns fill my bucket. And they also make me kind of bitter. I didn’t have one of those newborns you could hold and smell and kiss and stare at for hours. Nope, I was too busy trying to get mine to sleep and stop crying.
My first baby was colicky. My second sucked only slightly less. There wasn’t much time back when they were babies to enjoy them. It’s hard to enjoy extreme exhaustion from lack of sleep and frayed nerves due to a child who wouldn’t stop crying during the all too long days they were awake.
I feel ripped off. I’ve always felt ripped off. I always figured that, a decade later, I’d be over the feeling of being ripped off, but nope. I didn’t get the newborn stage that most of my friends did. There was no passing around my beautiful cuddly baby to friends who wanted to oooh and aaah at her.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that a few of my close friends, who felt maybe too comfortable with commenting on how much my newborns sucked, called my newborns great birth control.
I used to joke back when they were babies that I should take them to high schools for sex ed. Forget telling people why they shouldn’t have unprotected sex in high school. I’d just get on stage in front of all those kids holding my colicky newborn up like Simba for a solid 15 minutes (that should be more than sufficient, I figured) and have a big sign behind me that said ‘wear a condom.’
Trust me, I know that many families have far more challenging issues with newborns than screaming and tears. I do. I was blessed with healthy babies. That doesn’t mean that the hell I endured during those days - hell that only people who got to hang with us for a day or had colicky kids of their own can truly understand – wasn’t very very real and draining.
We’d have considered having more kids if our newborns didn’t suck so badly, but there was no way our sanity or our marriage could handle another newborn go-round. We had a 45 second conversation about it that went something like this. “Do we want a third?” “No fucking way.”
All of those sweet commercials and movies that depict newborns make me want to put my fist through a wall. That’s not what it’s like! Newborns aren’t sweet adorable cooing things. They’re red balls of fits and screaming! Aren’t they?
You mean, they can be sweet and adorable and soul filling and amazing? People do get to rock their newborns for hours and take in their cuteness and sweetness and smallness? People have the opportunity to scan their weee babies, scalp to toes, and take in the amazing and wonderment that is the sweet human they brought into the world?
Oh. I didn’t.
People told me I’d look back on those days and miss them and wish I enjoyed them more. I remember wanting to tell those people to fuck off back then and you know, years later, I don’t look back thinking they were right. I don’t wish I took the opportunity to take it in more. Years later, with the hindsight of seeing how insanely fast time flies, what I wish is that there were those moments to have. So that, among the hell and stress that went along with being a new mom, I had the moments to capture the beauty of the life I had brought into this world.
I think I will always feel cheated that I don’t remember her little nose or her toes. If she was sleeping, it was a sweet relief. The last thing I wanted to do was stare at her.
Being a new parent is an adjustment. Everyone tells you to enjoy it. Even if your child has special needs or high needs or you’re just having a rough time figuring shit out, people tell you to enjoy it. The days are long and the years are short, right?
I’m here to tell you, with the experience of knowing how quickly time does fly, that you might never look back and long for those moments back. I don’t. My newborns were never going to be in a Pampers commercial. But they’re pretty kick ass now.
So I’ll look back on the newborn days and feel totally ripped off. But I’ll also feel a sense of confidence knowing that I wasn’t wrong to wish them away. I’m enjoying being a mom way way WAY better now.