I'm sure there can be no dispute that having a baby is hard. Like, really effing hard.
First, you've got to actually have the baby.
As in laboring for fourteen hours, pushing for two, and then undergoing major surgery wherein they extricate the squirmy, little pumpkin from your uterus while you nearly bleed out on the table. Or something like that. (Not to mention the
nine ten months you spend cooking the little punk while your belly grows to whale-like proportions and your feet swell so badly that you legitimately fear they might pop.)
And after all that, you've got to try and keep the thing alive.
Your life becomes a never-ending repetition of three-hour cycles (if you're lucky) involving the excruciatingly painful feeding process, which makes you feel more like a milk cow than you ever cared to, followed by diaper blowouts of epic proportions and your husband proclaiming that he will literally throw up if he has to go anywhere near it. After the baby finally drifts off into oblivion (praise the good Lord!), you try and squeeze in a shower, throw in (yet another) load of laundry, and maybe scrounge up a spoonful of peanut butter for breakfast. And then she wakes up, and you start it all over again.
You learn to operate on basically no sleep. Because, even if you're blessed with a good sleeper, you can't go more than four hours between feedings at night because what about your milk supply? And even if you could sleep, you wouldn't because you can hear every. single. tiny. noise she makes, and you're too scared to move her out of your room because isn't it a little too soon to put her in her crib?
And you wonder, every single second, whether you're doing it right.
Is she getting enough to eat? Is she getting too much to eat? Is her diaper too tight? Am I holding her too much? Am I holding her enough? What is this red mark on the back of her head? Is she happy? Is her face supposed to look all swollen and smushed? What do I do with all of this hair? (Ha.)
Everyone's giving you advice, and you're sleep-deprived, and you can't remember what life was like without this utterly helpless human whose well-being and very existence depends on YOU.
Yes, these things are hard. So very hard.
Hard enough, in fact, to send many perfectly sane women into a tailspin of emotions and hormones involving seemingly rational tearful outbursts over the most random things. ("But, babe, Sarah McLachlan is telling me that an animal is cruelly abused every hour! Look at their little faces! We could be their angels -- it's only 60 cents a day! Listen to the MUSIC!")
But the exhaustion and the emotions and the uncertainty of those first few weeks aren't the hardest part about having a baby. Not by a long shot.
No, the hardest part about creating a life is learning to deal with the sensation of walking around with your heart outside your chest.
Because the moment they first lay that wrinkled little thing in your arms, you've lost your heart forever.
There will never be another moment in your life where you aren't completely consumed with an overwhelming love for this little person who has your lips and your husband's eyes. She just stole the show, front and center, and your days of putting your own desires first are long gone.
And the strange thing is, you wouldn't have it any other way.
You watch as your husband falls asleep with her in his arms, and your heart bursts with the knowledge that the two things you love most in the world are laying right there, together, on your couch.
You leave her for the first time, and you miss her so much you could cry. So you do.
And you know that you would give your life for hers without even the slightest hesitation, because the world would be utterly useless to you without her in it.
But by golly if it isn't the most wonderful thing you'll ever do.
Images by Lauren Ammerman Photography
Images by Lauren Ammerman Photography