Remember His Moments

I wish I could remember first holding him. I’m told I held him for two full hours before giving him up to the nurses. I remember it being 10 minutes—feeling like an unloving mother when I said I wanted the nurses to take him so I could rest. I remember holding him to my bare skin, but I don’t remember nursing him. Though, I know I did, because there are pictures to prove it.

Those first few hours were a blur. After laboring all night and hours of pushing, my body was weak and my mind was fatigued. Yet, the adrenaline kept me awake. I couldn’t put my mind to rest. My heart continued to stir with excitement and anxiety, though I can’t even remember why I was so overwhelmed. This new baby brought a whirlwind of emotions.

Anxiety. I had it before getting pregnant and here it was again in new form. Brain damage was my new fear. I was scared to hold my own baby for fear I would accidentally bounce him too hard, squeeze him too tight, or bump his soft-spot just right. Terrified can’t even begin to describe my emotions when they put my baby in my arms.

I thought years of baby-sitting had prepared me. Yet, babysitting did not allow me to fully understand the extent of love a mother has for her child. I was not prepared for how much I loved him. How I longed to protect him, to nurse him, to comfort him. Desires I didn’t even know could be felt so strongly. I regret letting fear steal pieces of my intimacy in those first few days.

Now my baby is growing fast. I’m no longer afraid of brain damage—no—now, now I’m afraid of time. Time passing too quickly. Precious moments fading into memories. Melancholy; I may be, but these fears tug at my heart. They change me. They make me a better mama.

I’ve always felt plagued by the work I need to get done, the responsibilities I have, the agenda of a “perfect” housewife. Then, each day, his smiles soften my heart. Each time his eyes meet mine and he smiles I realize that these moments need to be cherished. My work can wait.

His beginning hours are a blur. I barely remember the first time I held him, I nursed him. No more. No more of his life can be hazy. His smiles, his giggles, his milestones—it’s time to soak these up. Tuck these away. As these moments fade, the memories must be clear as day. Time to put down the phone. Leave the dishes for naptime. Snuggle up, love, and remember.