It starts as a jabbering. Slowly rising in level and urgency.
Sometimes when it is the fifth time his jabbering has turned to crying in the middle of the night, I think he must hate me.
It is only in the light of the morning that I realize, my infant son does not hate me – he loves me so much that he can’t bare to be apart from me in those waking moments when the dark is dancing around his bedroom. And I love him so much I can’t stand to have him search for me in the dark, instead wrapping my arms around him, and breathing in his scent.
Being a parent is what I bargained for. There are difficult moments, like on our wedding day he had hand foot and mouth disease and would only breastfeed – after pumping and storing milk for months to ensure he’d have enough. Or the multiple trips to his room in the middle of the night, or when we were worried about heart issues in the early days. And no matter what I believed regarding fed is best, when I struggled with breastfeeding at the beginning it was inexplicably tied to my self-esteem.
A few years ago I couldn’t even imagine him. Now I am here bathing him, clothing him, feeding him, and loving him.
Regardless of all the parenting advice you receive when you are new at this, the thing that no one can prepare you for is how much his smile will melt your willpower. I would do anything for him – and I think he knows it.
There is a lot of parenting advice. Some of it is asked for and welcome, most of it is filtered with a thank you. Most people want to help, most people want to relive the moments when they held their own infant in their arms, breathing in the scent, watching the chest rise and fall, feeling the giggles against the chest as they nuzzled raspberries into a squishy neck.
A baby is a funny thing. They burst painfully into the world, they interrupt our sleep so much that we delude ourselves into believing that sleep is overrated, and they make nonsensical requests in a language we don’t understand. And yet, when he rubs his eyes, and smiles up at me, I am a puddle to his wants.
I have determined to get stronger, not to let this little human walk all over me, but that’s a problem for tomorrow. For tonight, when his jabbering turns to cries, I will pull back the covers and go to him, because he is a dream come true who holds a big chunk of my heart.
I’m lucky. Not every mother or parent feels this way. 1 in 7 moms suffer from postpartum depression. Not all of those moms have the support they need to get through such a confusing and emotional time. I am grateful that I have support, I am grateful that I am having this experience. If you need help the Canadian Mental Health Association is a great place to start.