As I stood holding my best friend’s 8 week old baby daughter in my arms, gently falling into a familiar swaying motion, I realised I don’t miss it.
I was struck by how far I’ve come from those difficult, lonely, relentless days with a tiny baby. Where day blurs into night, punctuated only by nappy changes, feeding and lots of walking to get the baby to sleep. I don’t miss it.
My babies aren’t babies any more. Their daily routine consists of much more than eat, sleep, poop (thank goodness!) and whilst I adored my newborn snuggles with precious Baby Waves, I felt sure that I don’t miss it.
Some people long for the baby days. Their ovaries leap at the sight of a newborn baby and they melt at the sound of those high pitched whimpers, eager to soothe them and coo over the little creator of all the commotion. Not me. I’m grateful those days are long gone. I don’t miss it.
Now as I watch my girls playing with friends and growing in independence (and height!) with each passing week, it’s hard to believe they were ever as small and helpless as Baby Waves. But they were and I don’t miss it.
As I talked to my friends, brand new parents fresh out of the ‘Mum’ wrapper, I marvelled at their calm. The unspoken, intuitive dance they performed to ensure Baby and Mums were fed, watered/coffee’d and rested was indeed a sight to behold. I don’t recall feeling anything resembling calm for at least 2 years after Beautiful Blue Eyes was born. And I can’t recall ever feeling taken care of. I didn’t have a Village back then.
The memories of never ending feeding, nights filled with snippets of sleep snatched away by the yelping demands of a tiny baby who didn’t seem to know how to sleep. I mean, whose big idea was that?! Human babies are born completely helpless; they can’t walk, talk or even sleep! And there’s no manual. Babies have some serious design flaws.
I was surprised how familiar it all became very quickly. The feeling of urgency to respond to Baby Waves’ cries; the weight of responsibility for this beautiful creature; the instinctive need to protect; and of course, the natural sway as soon as I held her.
I don’t think the instinct to protect never goes away. Perhaps it’s because people describe having children as having your heart walking around outside of your body. There’s a vulnerability in being a parent which doesn’t get easier. What does become easier over time is sharing some of the responsibility with others, in the form of childcare, school and family or friends.
I guess the further away I get from those baby days, the more I forget what it’s like but it only takes minutes holding a newborn to feel it all come flooding back; the good, the bad and the ugly. Time passes whether we want it to or not. Our children are a stark reminder of this. But the baby stage has passed for me and my children now. I don’t miss it.