Motherhood, Raven

The Moment I Realized I No Longer Have a Newborn

There are a few things that it seems like all mothers say–

“The first month is all about survival,”

“After awhile, you forget what pregnancy and labor are really like,”

and, by far the most common—

“Children grow up so fast (and it will break your heart to watch it happen).”

With all these truths, my mind could intellectually grasp them before having a kid of my own, but I couldn’t really wrap my whole heart around each of those sentiments, especially the last one, until I had experienced each for myself, in turn.

I always wondered before becoming a mother–why are moms always getting so weepy over how fast their children grow up?

And then, all of a sudden–so fast it seemed to knock the wind out of me–I understood, wholly and completely.

You remember what it felt like to have your daughter’s 7-lbs-and-beans body placed on you right after delivery, and you remember how even her cry was the cutest sound you’d ever heard in your life.

You remember dressing her for the first time without the aid of the nurses, and how it took both you and your husband about fifteen minutes to get her into the little onesie you’d brought in your hospital bag because she just seemed so fragile and delicate and didn’t seem to want to uncurl her limbs.

You remember the pinkish glow of her newborn skin and how you hovered over her with socks and little hospital caps and long-sleeved onesies, worrying constantly that she was too cold or too warm or feeling that draft coming in through the uneven door frame.

You remember the nights your husband strapped her in the carseat at three in the morning because she was fighting sleep like it was her full-time job and took her on long drives up and down the deserted streets until she nodded off in the backseat.

And then all of a sudden, one day, you set your baby down next to your friend’s brand-new arrival, and you realize, with all the heart-crunching heaviness and love and nostalgia your body can handle that you no longer are the parent of a newborn—that your daughter, who still seems so new and fresh and wide-eyed with wonder is, in fact, a full-blown baby, and you want to start crying for reasons you can’t quite explain.

But then your baby coos and smiles up at you and gives suspicious looks to the creature next to her, and your heart fills up again, realizing that each new stage brings its own glories, its own blissful discoveries.

And then that tiniest of infants sneezes, and your daughter starts crying out of fright, and you laugh and laugh and laugh and pick up that perfectly roly-poly, full-on baby girl and know that this is what life is made up of—

Enjoying each of the stages, even as your heart breaks for what you can’t have back.

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