This is a photo of the first time I held my son.
Looking at this picture gets me teary eyed. Talking about it makes me cry. I’ve been lucky enough that I can say I’ve had a lot of very happy moments in my life. But the birth of my son was the greatest amount of sheer joy that’s struck me all at once — it doesn’t compare to anything else.
After my son was born by emergency C-section, as I was cooing over my baby and the doctor was sewing me up, the anesthesiologist asked if I was okay. I could barely speak, but sobbed a yes. “Tears of joy, then?” she said. I smiled.
Today, nearly four and a half months later, I had my first routine OB-GYN appointment since my pregnancy. My husband and son came with me, but we couldn’t find a parking spot in the crowded garage. I left them to sort it out and headed to the doctor’s office alone.
The OB waiting room is a spiderweb of sideways glances. Each woman is sizing the others up. Who is more pregnant than whom? Whose partner is coming to the appointments and who is alone? Is that teenage girl pregnant or just getting checked out? Some women’s stories are as obvious as the size of their bellies; others’ aren’t. I arrived alone, having mostly shed my postpartum ponch. My story was the latter.
When I sat down, I got a polite smile from a pregnant woman with three young children and a stare from a college-aged girl with her mom. I toe-tapped and glanced at the door. I played with my phone and avoided eye contact with the uncomfortably-full-term woman across from me. Finally, my baby arrived.
Being away from him, even for those few minutes, was tough. Seeing him made me glow. The moms, the expecting moms, and the not-moms all smiled. They had figured me out, and a baby in an OB office is as good an icebreaker as a puppy at a dog park.
I’m pretty sure there isn’t a special hell for the smug. If there is, I’m in trouble. When people smile at my baby, I smile back, I smile at him, I smile. It’s only been a few months — I haven’t figured out yet how to be humble. Being mommy to a baby is exhausting, dirty, thankless, round-the-clock work. But have you seen his smile?
Coming soon: More baby stuff, punctuation, and an update on some actual writing I’ve been doing.