It is really hard to take a step back and describe the experience, mainly because it’s not about me. I suppose I could try and muster of a list of thoughts I thought, but I doubt moms are very interested in all of that. Anything I have to say on the subject pales in comparison to the experience that you all get to go through.
So, it’s not about me. This isn’t meant to be a complaint or a hint of my underlying narcissism. It’s the simple truth. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about myself that Tuesday. I had a job to do. My job was to be present. My job was to be supportive. My job was not to get in anybody’s way. My job was to bear witness to the extraordinary event, and I’d like to think I did my job well.
When my first was born, I was the first non-medical professional to hold him, and it was a truly amazing moment. This time it was different. I think I was third. It felt a little weird, and I suppose part of me got a little jealous when a couple support friends squeezed in a snuggle before I had my chance. Yet the rational part of my brain again said, chill out buddy. It’s not a big deal, you have years of snuggles ahead. It’s not about me.
When my first was born, I got a lot of early one-on-one time with the baby. I did lots of holding, cuddling and marveling. Later I would learn that Milo’s availability to me was directly related to Jesika’s new mommy confusion, frustrations, and post-partum twinges. This time was different. This time Jesika and little baby Dashell were completely inseparable. It felt a little weird, and I suppose part of me got jealous watching her enjoy all of those newborn cuddles. That isn’t to say I didn’t get any, but they seemed few and far between. The rational part of my brain again said, chill out buddy. It’s not a big deal, you have years of snuggles ahead. It’s not about me.
When my first was born, it was the early summer which meant I had an entire three months to just focus on my new family, support Jesika, and establish our new routine. This time was different. With school still in session, I was back at school pretty much immediately. It felt a little weird, and I suppose part of me got jealous because while Jesika and Dashell remained very inseparable, I was at work, grading papers, asking kids to stop talking out so much, trying to get them to finish a project that was falling apart thanks to schedule changes and snow days.
I started to feel a little depressed. I started to feel a bit like an outsider.
Dashell has his time occupied with his mommy, and I’m not really part of that equation. Jesika has all of her time occupied with the baby, and I’m not really part of that equation. Even Milo gets to stay home, be a source of help around the house, and get a little baby bonding time, and I’m not a part of that equation either. It bummed me out.
Jesika started to pick up on it a bit, and I would insist that I was fine, because it’s really hard to explain that I’m overwhelmed with feels because nobody is really paying attention to me. I mean, let’s be honest. I’m a grown man, and it’s not about me.
Now as I sit here and write this, I realize that nothing I am saying right now will elicit much along the lines of sympathy. Believe me, I understand. It’s hard to justify the significance of this experience when I’m not the one who forcefully expelled a human being from an orifice that is considerably smaller than said human being. There are much larger forces at work, bigger machines in motion than my baby-daddy blues. I get it. It’s not about me.
Yet, I still feel compelled to share the experience. Part of me wants to be able to acknowledge it and put words to it, which writing this post is allowing me to do. It lets me organize and sort the files that have been shuffling around in my brain for the past three weeks or so. Perhaps some readers will find it interesting to see a little glimpse of how the other half lives, or some new dad who gets a taste of the same can commiserate. Even so, if this particular post fails to go viral, or resonate with the Cincinnati Mom’s Blog audience, I will understand.
With the dour mood of this post permeating every paragraph, I think it is important to end on a high note, so I will tell you this.
A few days ago, I got home from work early and Jesika handed the baby over to me so she could get a bit of a break, take a shower, and remember what it is like to be a human being without a baby glued to her. It was a wonderful moment, when she passed him over, and he laid down on my chest. That wonderful baby heat burrowed into my skin. I could feel the weight of the past few weeks start to lift, and a metaphorical meter somewhere inside that felt neglected and empty started to fill up.
We sat for hours, doing nothing, and it was a blissful baby bonding session; one that was well needed, and well deserved. The fog was lifted. It was wonderful. Not because it was finally about me, because it wasn’t. It was about us, a prelude of the wonderful things to come.