A year ago this very day was my last day as a free adult. I remember it well. Sure, I was miserable with pregnancy and had no idea the
horrors pleasures and joy that were ahead of me, but I answered to no one.
And then, at 3:00am later that night, a tiny fist punched a tiny hole in my water…by the time I was in the elevator to see my doctor at 9:00am? It burst all over the elevator. I thought about throwing a pickle jar on the floor as a cover, but decided against it.
From then on…my life has dramatically changed to the very core. I’m not going to wax poetically about it because frankly, tons of mothers before me have written far more eloquent words about motherhood. Me? I’ll stick to fart jokes and side-eyes.
Up until the moment I went into labor, I was terrified about being a mother. Oh sure, I wanted a baby and we were excited to have another piece of us on the planet, but I felt like I didn’t know what the hail I was doing and I was TERRIFIED of the inevitable screw-ups on the way. “How can I be responsible for a tiny helpless creature that’s so fragile?” I muttered to Lover fo’ Life, who by the way, was equally nervous about having to care for not just his new baby, but his partner in crime who would no doubt be a hormonal hurricane.
Once Angry Baby was here. Nature kicked in. See, while I enjoyed my last day of freedom, I stressed over the unfathomable responsibility of bringing a child into this world, when I should have just relaxed and let nature “take it’s course.”
Overnight, a mother’s instinct appeared from thin air. Now, I’m not going to say some moony-eyed “ooooh, we bonded y’all,” crap. I loved my daughter from the start, but I was terrified of screwing up. Slowly as we were encouraged by friends and family over the next few days, we started to get into a routine. At Baby’s first doctor appointment, he told us she was doing beautifully and he could tell we were doing everything perfectly. I suspect his overly positive and congratulatory mood had more to do with the fact I burst into tears and asked him, “when will we bond!?” But the take away was this: keep up the good work.
And now I write to you almost a year later, the journey of infancy nearly behind us ALREADY. Let me say to you future and would be someday parents out there: your body will kick in and you will know just what to do. If you have the pleasure of a partner by your side through the process, hug them tight and remember you are in it together. And if you have to go it all alone? You are a warrior, and trust that Mother Nature has your back. And don’t worry rest of the world, in the limited time you have with babies, Angry or otherwise, your inner instincts will know just how to get out of the situation without harm.
Instincts, that word actually is part of my next rambling point: The term mother’s instinct is a misnomer. Babies illicit an instinctual protective response in almost everyone (I’m glaring at YOU, Hannibal Lecter.)
Here, I’ll prove it:
When you hear a baby crying in public while the parents ignore it and don’t give a flip, which of the following best describes your emotions?
A. Anger: SHUT THAT BABY UP!
B. Sorrow: I hate to see people miserable! Do Something about that poor suffering lamb!
C. Annoyance: Ugh, can’t those people take that screaming thing out of here!?
If answered any of the above, congrats, that’s your instincts at work. What you register as anger and annoyance or displeasure, is actually your insides saying on a primal level: “ALERT! Weaker, helpless being in need of help! Something must be done!!!”
See, you’re better with kids than you thought you were!
Having a baby come into your life causes you to know just what to do (for babies) when and how…it just works. All the stuff you heard and knowledge you learned in the past comes to fruition in some strange amalgamation and you make it happen. A year ago I didn’t have a clue and I was terrified. Today, I know I GOT THIS, YO!
The Mothering-Fathering-Parenting-Contact-with-Baby- Instincts aka “My Mom Genes,” are real. And thank goodness, because without them I really wouldn’t know what the fudge I was doing.