I watched her. My sweet friend nursed her babe the other day as we chatted. And I watched. Not like a voyeur. I wasn’t catching any boob views. But I watched her each time she put him to the breast again. Or got his bottle ready. I watched her as she patted and swayed and consoled and assuaged and satiated him. I watched as she picked him up and rocked him and then I got to hold him and I thought, “You are gorgeous, dear boy but man, you, sir, are a lot of work.”
I’ve kind of forgotten. Not the idea of how babies take all of you. Your body. Your sleep. Your sanity. Your time. Your resources. But the actual feeling of that. Of the actual minute to minute caring for that a newborn requires. Because I’m passed that phase.
But as I watched my friend, I was absolutely in awe. I mean, it’s odd, right? Because I’ve done that. I’ve been there. I’ve lived it. But watching a human so ultimately care for another human… it’s sort of breathtaking. It renews your belief in humanity. That one person would so deeply attempt to meet the needs of another. It’s absolutely beautiful.
I watched her and thought about how exhausted she must feel. Gosh. I have to admit, I felt exhausted with her that day. I thought about how she feels like she’s worn so completely thin. Like she is just barely keeping everything afloat. I thought about how little sleep or restorative rest she is getting. And how she is thinking, “how could I have possibly forgotten the way that a baby would consume every single inch of me?” on a daily basis.
She feels behind on work. With her other children. She is basically playing tag in/tag out with her husband to make it through the nights. And her laundry pile feels more like a mountain.
Newborn life is h a r d.
But we do it.
We muddle through the first days/weeks/months because that is what we are made to do. We trade in our sanity. Our time. Our function. And tear off pieces of our hearts and press them daily to the chests of our sweet helpless little beings. We put so much of our lives on hold and feel utterly spent in every sense of the phrase. And even if we hate so many factions of it, we also feel so completely filled by these new earthly beings in a way that is sort of incomprehensible. If something can ever be sorta incomprehensible.
It’s the hardest best thing of life, I think. Getting to know a human from the very beginning. Getting to nurture. Mother. And lose so much of ourselves in order to help the world grow another soul. And almost every parent I know would agree that oddly, it’s all worth it.
But mama, I forgot. I forgot just how in the trenches you are. I forgot just what was so hard and yet so glorious about holding a baby for so much of my existence. I forgot what it was to look at tiny fingers and realize that they began in the womb and grew because of God and nutrition and biology. I forgot about the beautiful hardships of newbornhood. And I have to just say, I think you are such a gift to your child.
I watched you. I watched as you made that tiny one your number one priority. How you let him dictate your every moment. How you let him be tiny. And how you loved him with everything you had.
I got to hold him. And stare at him. And be in awe of the way he was formed to be a person. I got to feed him and hear his sounds. And watch him move his sweet little mouth in anticipation for the bottle. And I was reminded of all that it is to be a new mama.
And though I know you are exhausted, I know that outside of getting a good night’s sleep, there is not much more your heart could want right now. And you reminded me of just how lucky I was to experience that hard/glorious/shitty/crazy/fulfilling and yet emptying miracle three times over.
New mama. You are strong. And fantastic. And exhausted. And I am so thankful you reminded me… again.