My Top Ten New Mommy Moments: Reflecting on the First Year
10. The moment when I realized Pip would one day be bit by a mosquito. My sister and I were taking my perfect newborn daughter in all her beautiful, unmarred glory for a stroll to a local pharmacy in the dead of summer. We had a mosquito net over the stroller and I watched neurotically to make sure no bugs went near her…. But when my sister cried out and waved a mosquito away I lost all reasoning and pounced at it like a mama lion, only to end up scratching my sister’s hand so it bled. Even though I knew one day Pip would inevitably get a mosquito bite or a scratch or skinned knees, I couldn’t bear the thought of her perfect skin being hurt!
9. The moment when she got her first scratch. My daughter and I went to a baby-friendly matinee and she was happily alternating between nursing and snoozing in my arms and I was happily ignoring the movie, caressing and snuggling her. I fretted, too, worrying her perfectly perfect foot would hook under the armrest and she’d get hurt….until suddenly I realized her little foot was indeed stuck under the armrest, and I panicked, thinking surely her little perfect toe was caught and would be sliced off. In my fear I gave it a quick yank and ended up scraping the top of it. She cried, I cried, tears and snuggling and nursing and racing hearts commenced. I’ve called upon this moment many times since, and it saved us many more tears, as it taught me to take a deep breath and think logically before reacting- all I had to do was gently lower her foot and it would have escaped, unharmed.
8. The moments when I get to watch my loved ones with my daughter. It’s amazing to see someone you brought into this world so loved by people you love. Everyone has their own special strengths and unique love they bring Pip, and I adore observing them with her. My sister J’s love is boisterous and enthusiastic; L is quiet and intense; brother D is curious and awe-filled; my dad… it’s like getting to see what he was like with me, which is a rare gift. My mother-in-law is wildly encouraging and deeply caring, my father-in-law is chatty, adoring and affectionate. Pip teaches me about everyone, including myself, where I see and hear my own mom, in the loving or silly phrases that pop up from the recesses of my mind and startle me and then make me smile, knowing my mom’s love and knowledge is part of my very being, and these rituals and words are now being passed down to Pip as well.
7. The moments when Pip teaches me about the magic and awesomeness of learning. Encouraged by my own parents, I am an explorer, a discoverer, from reading to my imagination, and one of my favorite things has been showing Pip the world and having her show me it back. Her rate of learning and processing and understanding is astronomical, and she reflects it all back to me so I get to mindfully experience it with her, again, for the first time.
6. The moment we learned to do what works for us! My husband and I never felt comfortable with letting her cry, so when she’d wake in the middle of the night he would get up and bring her from her crib to me. I would nurse her, and she’d fall back to sleep, and once she was in a deep enough sleep I’d bring her back to her crib. This would repeat several times in a night, and it was slowly killing us. Finally, we realized if she slept between us she could just nurse and we’d all either roll back over and fall asleep or stay asleep in the first place! This has changed our nights, and as it turns out, bed sharing has been one of the most intuitive, loving decisions we’ve made yet. Then there’s the bonus of the magical moments of waking up together and joyfully kissing and playing in the early morning.
5. The moment I mastered baby-wearing. I love wearing Pip. She loves being worn. She’s close to me, we’re essentially hugging each other, but I have my hands free and can do chores, go shopping or just dance around with her. Bonus: she’s always within kissing range!
4. Breastfeeding. There are so many things that make this my favorite, from the way her eyes roll in the back of her head in blissed-out milk-pleasure, her little hands on my skin, cupping my breast or back or neck, the way she will lovingly pat my skin as she nurses, the feel-good and sleepy hormones that relax us both, the intense eye connection when she stares into my soul and says I see you…. but overall, it is the many many moments and hours of nursing, lying down, cuddling, snuggling with her that make this “my happy place” whenever I need one… my mind immediately goes to breastfeeding Pip on the bed, even before I consciously realize it. Mmmmm…
3. My husband staying up that first night she was born to watch her sleep. When I asked him the next day why he was so exhausted, and he told me he had sat in the chair watching Pip and I sleep, to make sure she was breathing… my heart pretty much flew out of my body and attached itself to him. He has continued to be the amazing, wonderful and loving father that this moment illustrated.
2. Giving birth to Pip. It may go against the conventional idea of labor and giving birth but I have never felt so powerful or in control of my life as when I was pushing her into this world. Birthing Pip will always be one of the highlights of my life.
1. The first moment I looked into her eyes and she looked back at me. Why, hello there, little one… She was newly born, moments old, and I knew she recognized me. I was overwhelmed, amazed, in awe, stupefied.. of this big, little miracle…and still am.