Monday, January 11, 2010
There is no feeling more compelling, distracting, fulfillilng euphoric, miraculous and terrifying all at the same time. For some mommies the infatuation begins even before they lay eyes on the their baby, for other moms, the emotion embraces them gradually. After your baby is born, you will frequently wonder what in the world you used to do to fill your time.
You already know how beautiful your baby's mouth looks when he is sleeping. The way it makes a perfect bow and how it suckles as if something delicious were i there. You play with his fingers when you feed him, you smell the fold in his neck every time you burp him, you rub his bottom every chance you get as if it were Buddha's belly bringing you blessings. lol All babies are beautiful, just to varying degrees, and in any contest, yours is the most beautiful of all. Of course! Not only is your baby a thing of beauty, it has undeniable charisma too. She is just so darned adorable, in all senses of the word. She feels good in your arms, she smells heavenly, she looks at you as if she sees into your soul.
One really good trick for keeping our attention is a baby's ability to change with every passing day. At two weeks of age, the baby you hold in your arms will have no resemblance to the newborn that the hospital photo service shows. Then the round and dimpled baby you hold at four months is yet another baby. new babies are born with one head or hair, then ose all that hair and grow in an entirely new color and texture. Caucasian babies keep you guessing about their eye color fr as long as nine monhts.
For now and the rest of your life, your job as a mother is to love your baby simply for being. Your baby in the future may not always love you back at times but that doesn't matter. A mommies love never changes. No child will ever grow up and genuinely thank you for the way you stayed awake all night to make sure the kindergarten chicken eggs hatched safely, or for yelling at the t-ball coach who called him a 'daisy picker in right field'. Your adoring love is based on your acceptance of your role as a mother to ensure that this little baby gets well launched into the world.
Another universal effect on new mommies of Baby Euphoria is a radical skewing of perspective. It begins in pregnancy but comes into full bloom after delivery. No events, local or global are witnesses and evaluated with any intellectual distance. Everything is appraised for its ability to touch your baby's life. Not only is all news and information digested in the skewed Mommy Prism, but it is also filtered through a colander of emotional and maternal reactions. For example, once a woman becomes a mother, she identifies with all mothers. New mothers love all babies (not as much as they love their own) even if they are strangers. I am certain that there are still thousands of mothers who have not recovered from the saga of Susan Smith, how she rolled the car her children were in into a lake. We were so heartbroken for her those first few days. We cried for her pain, then to find it was she who killed them was the ultimate betrayal to the rest of mothers. The Mothers' Criminal code is this: All people who intentionally hurt or disappoint children must serve time n prison. All people who commit sexual crimes or worse against children must be executed, preferably within five minutes after hey have been apprehended.
The arrival of a baby into your life is more extraordinary than being invited aboard an alien spaceship, and in many ways it is like a close encounter with an extraterrestrial. No one on this earth is as interested in your baby is you are! I'm sorry to tell you that but it's true. As miraculous as the birth of your own child is, you didn't exactly invent childbirth and people will not be eagerly seeking you out to hear the latest story of every eye blink and every smile. Every little thing about him, from the way he has 'stork bite' marks at the nape of his neck to the way he gazes into your eyes with his tentative focus and wobbly heat, is just short of miraculous. Not only do you notice every single thing but you delight in relating it in great detail. I don't mean to take away from your fun but when someone asks how the baby is doing...a simple one or two sentence answer is appropriate. Not a play by play of the last few months.
Absentmindedness begins in pregnancy but it reaches its full and glorious bloom after the baby is born. Sure even non-mothers occasionally lose their keys, but I bet they don't lose their cars as often as mommies do. We also lose our ability to understand logical relationships among people, places and things. For example, you can open the door to the refrigerator and actually wonder what is keep ins uch an appliance. You forget how to get to the elevator in a department store you've practically lived in and of course get lost in a parking garage we've been parking in the same spot since we were teenagers. It's quite common for new mommies to have trouble completing simple tasks because they forget what they intended to do long before they have taken two or three steps in any direction. You will come out of this fog! Later when the baby is older and the hormones have lifted, you will find that your brain damage is directly attributed to your lack of sleep. There is only one effective way to deal with your new affliction of absentmindedness and that is to become a creature of habit. Immediately begin training yourself to find homes for everything you use on a regular basis. Your car keys always go in the bowl on the table, the diaper bag always hangs on the doorknob of the baby's room and your purse always is closest to the garage door. Another weapon against absentmindedness is to write everything down and make lists. If you have to, keep a tiny notepad in your purse at all times.
Ask a new mother whether she wants her mate to help in caring for the baby and she will of course say yes but when it comes down to actually sharing the job an amazing number of women all of a sudden become very stingy. Perhaps new moms are secretly terrified that Daddy is going to be at least as skillful at childcare as we are. Where does that leave us? Perhaps they feel they could miss out on something during that five minutes someone else is changing the diaper. The big goal is to teach your child to get by in the world without you, not to guarantee that all her needs must be met by mommy. There is no such thing as too much help in motherhood. You may be experiencing Baby Euphoria but you still need help sometimes, you are only human.