Did you know that for the first week of Baby’s life you have to feed it every hour? You might have a baby who’ll sleep longer stretches and maybe you’ll only have to feed it every two or three hours, but you must feed it at the very least every three hours.
From your boobs. (Or from a bottle, but still.)
Did you know that babies start learning the minute they make their appearance and that they require stimulation and attention and you have to play with them and focus on them and teach them stuff and they rely on you for everything? EVERYTHING.
The more I read about the first year of baby’s life, the more nervous I got. I had this idea that bringing a new baby home would be like a Johnson & Johnson commercial. I envisioned myself in a filmy white nightgown, sunlight filtering through breezy open windows, Michael across the room at his easel, the dogs curled calmly on either side of me as I suckle the babe at my breast. But according to this book a more likely scenario is a house that hasn’t been cleaned since before the baby showed up, unwashed hair and stained pajama’s, weeks and weeks and weeks without sleep, the dogs hysterically chewing bald spots into their coats because their lives have been ruined by the screaming alien we brought home from the hospital. And also? Every three hours? From my boobs?
It’s not that I want a baby any less than I did that first day my switch flipped. It’s just that now I’m absolutely terrified. For the first time in our marriage, we are genuinely happy with our life. We are happy and working towards goals we believe in and building a life we’re excited about. That’s a big deal. It’s why we thought now might be a good time to add to our family. I read up to what to expect in Baby’s second month before I shut the book, stuffed it behind a row of trashy novels and told Mike that maybe now would be a good time to savor our life a little bit. Maybe now is the time to be enjoying these happy, blissful, quiet moments alone together, I said. He stared at me for a moment and then he demanded I tell him what I’d done with his wife. But he agreed. So we are treasuring nights spent curled on the couch in front of the TV with nothing between us but air. We will delight in late Saturday mornings and whispering over pillows well past bedtime. We will relish sleeping for ten hours at a stretch, candlelit dinners alone just because, and dogs who have full coats of fur. It’s not that we aren’t eager to start a family, because we are. We just want a little more time to appreciate the adventure we’re on before we jump into the next one.