January 14, 2008

For Baby

A friend asked me the other day if I was still being ridiculously pragmatic about this whole baby thing, now that she's actually here. Once you leave the hospital, there is the reality of constant daily care, so the denial of pregnancy is no longer an option. There is no mistaking that you did indeed produce an infant. Sometimes I say to myself: "She is your daughter. You are her mother" and it's becoming more natural as time goes on. Which makes sense, because it took a while for "You are infertile" to sink in too.

During pregnancy I remember reading other bloggers' posts about how they already loved their baby in utero so incredibly deeply and thinking I definitely did not relate. On day two or three of her life, I remember my husband holding her up and saying to her "I just love you so much!" I was touched by seeing this in him, but I remember thinking to myself "Hmm, I do not feel like I'm in love with this strange little alien. I wonder when it will hit me." At this point I'm clearly very much in love with the whole thing. I love the baby, I love at least a million little things about her, and I love being her mommy. I tell her I love her several times a day and kiss her as often as possible.

Generally I still bury away any big gushes of emotion. But the passing of time and all that it means is the one thing that really gets to me. I remember early on, my mom was holding Piper asking her "Who will you be?" and pondering aloud about the person she would become. "Don't you wonder?" she asked me. I said that no, I never thought about it. It will all be here soon enough. I just want to enjoy who she is now. In that moment, I choked back almost a year's worth of denied emotions, from the hope I should have carried into the cycle, to the joy I should have had at the positive beta, to the excitement I should have relished for nine months, and insisted on stoicism. To think about the life that lies ahead of her unfolding, of how we will grow closer as she grows away from me, is way too much for me.

I celebrate the little milestones, but do not wish for them to get here. I stare at her and think of how wonderful she is and try to soak it all in. Sometimes I wish I could just freeze us in a perfect moment, cuddled together. But babies have a very smart design, the next new thing is always wonderful enough that it makes the passing of time okay. She is now in the big smiley stage, which distracts me from the speed at which her life is flying by.

So with all this emotion I have related to the passing of time, it's no surprise the thing that finally opened the floodgates for me was coming across the lyrics of a lullaby my mom used to sing to me. It took me right back to who we were then, and the enormity of everything in between, and the knowledge that I will blink my eyes and Piper will be singing lullabies to her daughter (or where ever it is she goes in life). It doesn't hurt that it's also an incredible description of motherly love:

For Baby (For Bobbie)
John Denver

I'll walk in the rain by your side,
I'll cling to the warmth your hand.
I'll do anything to help you understand,
I love you more than anybody can.

And the wind will whisper your name to me.
Little birds will sing along in time.
Leaves will bow down when you walk by,
And morning bells will chime.

I'll be there when you're feelin' down,
To kiss away the tears if you cry
I'll share with you all the happiness I've found;
A reflection of the love in your eyes.

And I'll sing you the songs of the rainbow;
A whisper of the joy that is mine.
And leaves will bow down when you walk by,
And morning bells will chime.

I'll walk in the rain by your side.
I'll cling to the warmth your tiny hand.
I'll do anything to help understand.
I love you more than anybody can.

And the wind will whisper your name to me.
Little birds will sing along in time.
Leaves will bow down when you walk by:
And morning bells will chime.


Aunt Kate said...

OMG - seeing those lyrics really opened the floodgates for me too! Did you find the song file somewhere too? Tell little Piper not to change too much before I get to see her again!

Rachel Inbar said...

Another beautiful post :-)

I never really felt that love for a baby in-utero either... and I specifically remember telling one of my daughters in the hospital that I would learn to love her despite the fact that she was ugly (she was really ugly for about the first 6 months, after which, she became very pretty).

I so totally agree that each stage brings new, wonderful things with it - even now, when my oldest is 14, I'm enjoying watching her become an independent young woman, with ideas and opinions of her own.

I love John Denver in general, and this song is really beautiful :-)

niobe said...

I know exactly what you mean about being afraid to feel too much, about choking back emotions. Of course, unlike you, I'm still very much in that same place.

I know I've said this before, but Piper is one of the most beautiful babies I've ever seen. Of course, all babies are cute, but she is really gorgeous.

Rachel said...

I love that song.

JJ said...

Oh my goodness...your baby girl is SO adorable!

megan said...

Beatuiful post, Sarah. It made me so happy to read this...and Piper is just so gorgeous.

serenity said...

What a beautiful post, Sarah.

I often feel like I might love this baby that moves inside me right now. But it's like looking at a very dim star - that love seems to disappear whenever I focus on it. Mostly I have the worry that something will go wrong between now and then.

It's thrilling to know that I'm not alone.

And I'm so happy to hear YOU so happy too. :)

Angie said...

She is so beautiful!

Debbie said...

She is gorgeous and amazing and everything sweet.


Bumble said...

Lovely to hear from you, and with such a touching post as well. I feel like I love this baby a little more every day, or maybe its just that I was (am) so scared that something will still go wrong now, I'm guarding my heart a bit. Like will it really happen? But she's so lovely, and I'm so happy its all sunken in now. You are her mommy. xxx

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. The post and the baby.

Tam said...

Just beautiful. So glad that you have bonded with little Piper, she is just beautiful too.

Enjoy each moment!

Valerie said...

What a heartfelt post, and such a lovely song.

Sticky Bun said...

Trying to get me all teary, there, huh?

Seriously, though, this is such a beautiful post. And I can so relate--I also deal with things by being a bit stoic. I find it really comforting to know that those emotional guards do melt down.

thanks so much for writing this and sharing. It's so wonderful to hear and to see you really enjoying the present with Piper.

Cibele said...

Beautiful. The post, the song and mostly your baby

Lindsey said...

its a beautiful song and a beautiful picture of Piper. Glad you are able to revel in it all now. At long last.

Sara said...


I was one of those "love in the uterus" people, but I'm STILL having moments of sheer amazement that she's my baby and I'm her mother. It's such an enormous transition, I don't think anyone could take it in all at once. This is a lovely post.

TeamWinks said...

I felt as if I loved him too much he would vanish. Irrational, but true. The first true cry of hurt (shots? a bumped head?), and you will see just how in love with her you are. It rather shocked me!

Mands said...

What a beautifully honest post. It puts things into perspective in a very gentle and sincere way. Thank you. And she is absolutely gorgeous.

Kate said...

I "HEART" her. She is absolutely perfect. Those toothless baby smiles are the sweetest thing in the world.

I could relate so much to this post. "I celebrate the little milestones, but do not wish for them to get here." I am so keenly aware of that now. I try to savor every moment and it saddens me how much I have already forgotten about the last 12 weeks. I read a suggestion somewhere recently to have someone take a picture over your shoulder when you are feeding the baby. This way, you have a snapshot of her from your point of view. I thought it was a good idea. There are so many moments that I wish I could freeze in time. I think this perspective makes the difficult times (crying, not sleeping, etc.) much easier to handle.

"This is by far my favorite age," I used to think with Child. And then time would pass, and once again I would say, "No, THIS is my favorite age." What a clever design indeed.

Furrow said...

You're so lucky to be able to capture a smile. My stupid camera is so slow that I can't catch Zo in the act, though she, too, does it all the time.

I was head over heels in love with Zo when she was in utero, but once she got here, she seemed like an alien. It took me quite a while to get back to that feeling of knowing her and being truly in love.

Piper is beautiful.

Becks said...

She is absolutely gorgeous...you must be so proud!