The one with the tiny, scary thing.
My approach to pregnancy was very much in stark contrast to how most people would describe me. I was determined not to be anxious, so I didn’t do a lot of research. I was committed to being relaxed, so I didn’t have a birth plan. I rationalised that it would be feeble for me to plan something I had absolutely no control over. I asked my obstetrician almost no questions: I had no burning desire for answers.
This mostly paid off: the birth was less than routine. After being in labour for 3 days, nothing was budging: not my cervix, not my baby. (Sidenote: know how they measure dilation? With fingers. It’s not super pleasant.) I didn’t stress out. I followed my doctor’s advice. My 3.98kg, 56cm baby was delivered safely, and we got on with things.
I wonder now, if this was all a coping mechanism? I couldn’t begin to fathom the complexities of being a mother. Of having a baby. So I opted for pregnancy MVP. I left hospital with a brand new scar, and a perfect, complicated, scary thing: a baby. I’ve never been so overwhelmed.
I truly do not have enough words for all of the questions I have now. There are the obvious ones. But, there are others that I just can’t begin to unpack. And there are all of the feelings.
There are moments when I watch my son and try to imagine what he’ll look like. At the moment, he’s my little twin (Spock ears and all). How will that change? And then, in imagining his future self, I feel grief knowing that he’s not always going to be my tiny, scary thing.
As he sleeps beside me, I can’t help but touch him. His little face is completely untroubled in sleep. We’re past the days of watching in terror: those first days when you come home and feel threat in every second. Is something going to steal him away? Now, I watch him sleep and feel full. He’s so relaxed: a little rag doll. Even now, at 18 months, he still feels like a part of my body. I cherish having him sleep beside me. How long will he want to do that?
These weeks and days and hours have all gone too fast. I barely remember now those first hours and minutes. Am I missing things? Will I wake up one day and find him a young man? How can I help him become that future man, and be kind, and good, and fulfilled?
I’m worried that he’ll be crushed under the weight of my expectations. What if happiness isn’t easy for him? What’s the balance between overbearing and absent? How do I teach him that values are a personal thing? That you have to work them out for yourself.
Am I going to do him justice? Have I learned enough to be a good parent to him? Will I repeat the same mistakes my mother made? What will my mistakes be? Will he know that he always has my complete love? Will I be enough?
It strikes me that all of these questions are quite selfish. I guess then, the biggest question for me will be: how do I let go?