Recently, a few of my mom friends and I were comparing birth stories. As our kids sat propped-up facing one another on my condo floor, their quadruple chins formula-laden, we showed c-section scars, laughed about how horrendous the contractions were, and shook our heads wondering why breast feeding did not work out for any of us. But one topic stuck with me more than any other: the “moment” you are supposed to have when your child is born--that “moment” where your heart spills over with love and joy, and you cry happy tears and the clouds part and a rainbow shines through, and then a unicorn flies over the rainbow leaving a trail of gumdrops. And there is chocolate. A lot of it. Okay, not really, but you get the point. It is that “moment” that people speak of, the only “moment” of its kind, and birthing a baby is the only way you can get it, and nothing else compares.
As one of my friends was telling her story, she laughed at recalling the first few minutes after her daughter’s birth, asking herself, “Where is my moment?! I want my moment!” And surprise, surprise, I didn’t have that moment either...
A few weeks before “Birdie” was born, I went to visit a new mom friend and her ten-day-old daughter. She looked and me with a huge smile, and told me how unbelievable that “moment” was when they put the baby on your chest. How I would not be able to understand how magical it was. How wonderful it would feel.
Now, I think that I have said before that “Birdie” and I got off to a pretty rough start. With a big slap-in-the-face of postpartum depression and beyond painful breastfeeding that was ultimately unsuccessful for keeping her at the weight she needed to be at, it was not exactly the optimal environment for mom and baby connection. Sure, I took care of my daughter, and I did it pretty well all things considered, but I certainly did not enjoy it. Unfortunately, I felt like the opportunity of my “moment” came and went untouched; nobody jumping on the chance to seize it. Sad, but true.
...until the other day.
About two weeks ago when “Birdie” stopped sleeping through the night, and my husband and I both had a lot on our plate, we made the decision to find some solace at my parent’s house about two hours west of the city. In the middle of the woods, there are no city distractions, and the sound of my dad’s guitar and smell of my mom’s cooking are all that surround us. Not to mention how helpful they are as grandparents (a topic Mama J recently posted about). They offered to get up with the baby for the day, and babysit while we went out to dinner with friends (our second time out together in 4.5 months, the first time was for our first wedding anniversary four months ago!).
After a few mornings of sleeping past 5, and a leisurely dinner with some amazing friends, we returned to our daughter--fed, changed, and peacefully asleep for the night. I had the urge to wake her up; to coo with her and coax a few toothless grins. I held back, and instead swaddled and hugged her, placing her cautiously in her crib. My heart swelled with love, and my eyes with tears, for I knew that finally--finally, I had had my “moment.”