It’s a few months into motherhood and I’m looking into the eyes of a baby that is nothing like I envisioned. I mean, she’s beautiful, healthy and a human being, like I wanted, but aside from that, I’m wondering if aliens dropped her down from another planet because this bundle of joy ain’t got time for me. I mean, you try to amuse her by making goo-goo faces that would send most babies into a giggling frenzy and this child just stares at you like you’re crazy. My husband and I have gotten so used to this icy gaze that we now call it ‘The Stare Down’ because she tries to use it as a form of intimidation. Seriously, little girl, if I wanted this type of independence and attitude I would have gotten a cat. At least they let you pet them once in a while. At my wit’s end, I call my mom for advice because I seem to recall her telling me that I wasn’t exactly the baby she signed up for either. I liked no one and crying was my favorite pastime.
First, she tells me that not only was I not the baby she signed up for, she didn’t sign up for a baby at all. She had just had my brother nine months earlier, so when she went to the doctor to get some birth control pills and found out that she was pregnant with me she nearly went into shock. By the time I showed up with my sour attitude she could only go with the flow. Her advice to me on how to handle my precious one: “It is what it is, so suck it up, and keep it moving.”
Eventually, days turned into nights and along came baby number 2. This time around, I had no expectations. But to my surprise, this baby was everything that I always wanted. She cuddled, and cooed, and lived for her mommy! And yet, sometimes it was just too much. Like when I wanted to watch a basketball game and she demanded to stare longingly into my eyes. She was also a permanent fixture on my boobies, and even today, at four-years-old, still doesn’t miss an opportunity to give them a little squeeze. When particularly frustrated I scream, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?! She leaves me alone!”
I came to realize that there are no perfect babies. It’s a lesson that my in-law Ronnie learned when her first born didn’t exactly fit the fantasy she had in her head. “He was colicky, which was unexpected because I was breastfeeding, and he cried constantly, no matter how I tried to soothe him,” she says of those first few months. “Sometimes I wanted to throw him out the window!” Thankfully, relief came after her son had finished breastfeeding one day and she saw a little bump poke out near his scrotum. Come to find out, he had three hernias that were causing him a lot of pain, especially when he ate. Once they were removed, he was fine. Awe…sometimes it’s physical.
So for new moms who are disillusioned because the baby you got is not exactly the baby you wanted, remember the words of my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher to her students whenever they’re disappointed over something they received: “YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU DON’T GET UPSET.”
Words to live by. Good luck!