If I had to be honest, I would say that when I first agreed to have a baby with my husband, I was somewhat ambivalent about the prospect. Earlier in my life, I was gung-ho about the idea of child-rearing, but as I got older I grew less interested in becoming “tied down” with a child. Nevertheless, I did all in my power to (eventually) give birth to a healthy baby boy over the course of over two years. I was committed, and I overcame a number of snafus that occurred during my pregnancy and delivery. Even after the baby was born, I was terrified when he went into NICU and I was so afraid of losing him, but the ambivalence was still there. Where was that instantaneous bonding I was expecting to have? Why was I still unsure I wanted a child in the first place?
The first couple of months were quite a trial, and in my worst (most exhausted moments,) I thought to myself: “this is all Vlady’s fault. He wanted this.” Thank god I never vocalized it to him. And I didn’t really mean it. After all, we had both worked so hard to make it all happen.
At about week three of Theo’s life, I despaired that we had acquired a “difficult baby” and I resigned myself to doing the best I could with our lot in life. I showered as much love as I had in me on little Theo, subscribing in the “fake it ’til you make it” model. I discovered just how much patience I really had inside of me. It helped that I truly empathized with this helpless little creature whose digestive system and brain had a long way to go. I didn’t blame him for crying so much, but it was still hard on us. I did love Theo, but I wasn’t “in love” with him, you know what I mean?
By three months old, his squalling eased up and he started smiling more. Four and a half months after that, and I am totally in love with this baby boy. As I sit here on a break from the late-night class I am teaching, I ache to see him and play with him. He is home with his daddy, and I envy Vlady for it. I did have Theo all to myself this morning while Vlady had to be at work, so I guess I can’t complain.
Somewhere along the way my whole perspective changed on being a mother, and it happened along the same timeline as Theo’s personality bursting forth. I would like to take credit for just what an amazing and happy little kid he is, but I know his father and I only had a part in who he is today. His temperament is in great part a function of genetics and chance. However, I know that we met (and still meet) his every need the best we knew how, and that helps a baby feel confident and secure.
Every day I love Theo more, and I simply marvel at how he’s grown, what he can do, and the fact that I had anything to do with his very creation. Theo’s showing his attachment to me recently too, in a bittersweet way. He sometimes starts crying when I walk away, and it absolutely breaks my heart. But it also warms the cockles of my heart. Your spouse or relatives may hate to see you leave too, but they rarely break down and wail. A baby’s heart is on his sleeve. I want to wail too when I leave my sweet Pook.