Is it just me or is everybody pregnant? Wait, that makes it sound like I’m pregnant. I am NOT pregnant. My eggs are shriveled and dried up. But everyone else, it seems, is very fertile. (If you are struggling with infertility, I’m really sorry. You are probably very aware that everyone but you is pregnant. Sucks.) But I was thinking back to the stone age (mid-90’s) when I had my first baby. That baby is about to jump ship and go to college. We actually can’t talk about that because I still feel like she’s still about eight years old and why the heck is she leaving already? Also, I was just in college about fifteen seconds ago myself. I swear!
But I remember when I was pregnant and working at this super ritzy photo studio (how ritzy? An 8×10 was $400. Gag.) and one of my coworkers, a mother of two,* said to me, “don’t worry if you don’t love your baby right away.” I thought this was probably the most bizarre and uneccesary thing I’d ever heard. Hadn’t I been watching A Baby Story non-stop for months? Everyone on the show always said how they fell in love with their baby the second she was born. I shook my head and thought my coworker was key-raaazy.
Fast forward a couple of months and here I am with this newborn and although I feel a fierce protective instinct, I can’t exactly say that I love this little bundle of joy. All I really feel is tired and my boobs hurt soooo much. I started to feel like I’m one step away from Charles Manson. Or at least a crack whore. Who doesn’t love their baby? There must be something wrong with me. But I remembered those words from my coworker. And I felt peace. Like maybe I wasn’t crazy after all. Maybe there have been other mothers who were a little slow on the love-uptake.
And when my sister-in-law volunteered to watch baby India overnight (thank goodness for breast pumps!) when she was merely six weeks old (India, not my sister-in-law), I jumped at the chance to stay at a hotel with Mister. And you know what? I missed that baby. And, dare I say it, I actually felt love. You know how the grinch’s heart cracks open and starts growing? That’s exactly how it felt. And within a few weeks I loved that wee little lass like crazycakes.
I ended up loving my baby and loving being a mom so much that I could not wait to have another one. I started trying for my next baby (and got pregnant right away) when India was only seven months old.
So the moral of the story is 1) it’s OK if you don’t love your baby right away. You will eventually. Cross my heart. And 2) sometimes you really do get good advice when you’re pregnant.
Have you gotten any really good or really horrible advice when you were pregnant?
P.S. Yep, that’s a photo of me and India on the day she was blessed (christened). Appearances to the contrary, I wasn’t 15 years old. I was actually 24. And isn’t it about time for vests to make a comeback?
*Sadly, my coworker was murdered a couple of months later when she went home for a lunch break. We all suspected who did it but he never went to trial. Crazy, huh?
7 thoughts on “Best Baby Advice”
“Don’t expect everything to be perfect.” And it took a little while for that to sink in.
And, um, NO on the vests. And could we please get rid of breast pockets on women’s shirts while we’re at it? When I put one of those on over my 32G chest, it’s like I’m screaming, “Here’s my POCKET!”
Golly, India looks distressed in that picture! And you look like a GORGEOUS 15.
It took me about 3 months to learn to love you as a baby. All you did for that first 3 months was cry and cry and cry. You were probably starving because I was determined to nurse, and hardly anything came out. Then when you stopped crying and I could sleep for 6 hours straight I fell SOOOOOOO in love with you. So, NO, you don’t always love your baby at first. But I still love my baby more than she knows.
The best advice I got was that you can’t screw up a child in one day. I thought that was bleeding obvious at first, until I had one of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days with my son when he was about 10 months old and thought I’d screwed him up for good. That advice came in very handy right about then.
And that picture is so sweet. 🙂
Yes that is some great advice. I had the same feelings as you did in the beginning. When my daughter was 5 weeks old, I had a friend’s wedding reception to attend. My husband came home later than he was supposed to (to stay with the baby so I could go to the reception), so I was annoyed and running behind trying to get out the door. As I got in the car and drove away, I realized I didn’t even say “bye” to the baby. I was upset and felt so guilty. And I realized how much I loved her.
And I just realized that I have never shared that with anyone. Thanks for bringing it to light for me.
And that is so terrible about your co-worker :(. So sad for her two children.
Best: “There is very little you can accidentally do to a baby that is more violent than birth.”
“At some point you will drop the baby. Or you will put him down on the bed to change his diaper, or on the changing table, or on the couch, and he will roll off. You will be more damaged by this event than he will. Babies bounce.”
Worst: “All babies spit up.” (Seriously. I know all babies spit up. He was the second, and I am a doctor. Still no one listened to me until the baby was spitting up BLOOD. Then he got put on reflux medications and I finally got to sleep in bed instead of holding him upright in the rocking chair.)
I actually said out loud, “She looks 15!!” LOL
Best advice was don’t read any of the books out there because you will go crazy. And it is true. I think seeking out some advice in books or online or from others is good, but your own gut instinct is best as well as knowing how to figure out what works for you and your baby will not work for someone else. Too many people make one another feel guilty about stuff and I think that is just hurtful.
I have to admit, I got a serious jolt when I read that about your co-worker. How horribly sad.
And NO to the vests.
I can’t believe how young you look!!!!!!! That is just crazy. You weren’t even a super young mother, like 19 or 20 or something.
Hmm, I can’t remember any parenting advice I got when pregnant. I think I was so far behind the curve no one cared anymore about passing out advice.
Actually, that’s not true. My very wise sister told me to let the baby sleep in the nursery at the hospital, and it was wonderful advice. Not until you’ve had your baby home do you realize those were the last good nights of sleep you’d have for months. I’m so glad I took advantage based on your advice! (And also because, like you, I didn’t bond right away, so I didn’t feel like a horrible person for not wanting to sleep with my baby right there yet.)