Oh how I wish I could take pictures like this:
Is anyone else’s uterus contracting or is it just me? Holy moly. Cuteness CAN hurt. Who knew?
PLEASE, DO AS I TELL YOU: If you have a newborn or are going to have one, GET SOME GOOD PICTURES TAKEN. Ask for them as a shower gift. Baby present. Gift them to yourself. Beg. Borrow. Steal. But DO IT. Those first weeks can end up a little blurry no matter how present you are. Every time you look at your pictures years and years from now, you will have a bodily remembering of your baby’s translucent skin, rosebud mouth, wispy hair, tiny seashell ears. What they felt like. What they smelled like. You will swoon. You will feel all sorts of pangs. You might even weep. You will tell me I knew what I was talking about.
Get the pictures taken.
As I said, I wish I knew how. (It might help if I stopped using the camera on my iPhone to capture life’s most precious moments). Some people really have a gift for these things. I admire them tremendously. Like her. And her. And her. Three off the top off my head in my area (whom I know personally and have both great aesthetic sensibilities and are really, really nice people).
I’ve got baby on the brain because my brother and his wife are expecting a little baby girl in June. The shower is this weekend. Today I finally moved James’s crib out of his room, (though he’s been sleeping in a bed since September), and across town to their house. So I’m having pangs of my own.
Baby season is over for me. It has been, to steal from the army, “the hardest job I’ve ever loved”. I’m both relieved to move on to the next and surprised by the unexpected waves of loss washing over me. I’m not too old to go again, but it feels like I’m watching as the tide of that time in my life is pulling out. And it seems right and good. As it should be.
Yesterday, I was walking and talking with my friend, Ani, about how it feels to close that chapter. Most days, I feel such certainty about where I am now, where my family is as a unit, where we’re headed with always new and challenging ages and stages, and I feel such gladness and gratitude. Every now and then, though, it will catch me off guard. I’ll be sorting through my boys’ newborn clothes to make a pile of hand-me-downs for my niece-to-be, smoothing my hands over brushed cotton, putting them to my nose to see if there is a whiff of my babies left, or I’ll pass a tired-looking but content mother with a tiny wriggling baby in a sling, and whoosh. Grief. What else to call it? And there’s just no way around it. Whether you decide to have another baby or not, sooner or later you’ll have to face it: the end of the pregnancy, birthing, and baby chapters. And I’m thinking there’s a few good cries to be had. Not long ones, because the fullness of the present really is enough. But just a few good heaving sobs, a few valiant tears shed, as you say goodbye to the person you have been.