By Erickka Sy Savané
It’s a few months into motherhood and I’m looking into the eyes of a baby that is nothing like I envisioned. I mean, she’s beautiful, healthy and a human being, like I wanted, but aside from that, I’m wondering if aliens dropped her down from another planet because this bundle of joy ain’t got time for me. I mean, I try to amuse her by making goo-goo faces that would send most babies into a giggling frenzy and this child just stares at me like I’m crazy. My husband and I have gotten so used to this icy gaze that we now call it ‘The Stare Down’ because she tries to use it as a form of intimidation. Seriously, little girl, if I wanted this type of independence and attitude I would have gotten a cat. At least they let you pet them once in a while. At my wit’s end, I call my mom for advice because I seem to recall her telling me that I wasn’t exactly the baby she signed up for either.
First, she tells me that not only was I not the baby she signed up for, she didn’t sign up for a baby at all. She had just had my brother nine months earlier, so when she went to the doctor to get some birth control pills and found out that she was pregnant with me she nearly went into shock. By the time I showed up with my sour attitude she could only go with the flow. Her advice to me on how to handle my precious one: “It is what it is, so suck it up, and keep it moving.” Thanks Ma.
Eventually, days turned into nights and along comes baby number 2. This time around, I have no expectations. But to my surprise, this baby is everything that I always wanted. She cuddles and coos, and lives for her mommy! Yet…………sometimes it’s just too much. Like when I want to watch a basketball game and she demands to stare longingly into my eyes. She’s also a permanent fixture on my boobies. Fast-forward four years and she still doesn’t miss an opportunity to give them a little squeeze. When particularly frustrated I scream, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?! She leaves me alone!”
Thankfully, it’s not just me. My in-law Ronnie’s first born didn’t exactly fit the fantasy she had in her head either. “He was colicky, which was unexpected because I was breastfeeding, and he cried constantly, no matter how I tried to soothe him,” she says of those first few months. “Sometimes I wanted to throw him out the window!” Thankfully, relief came after her son had finished breastfeeding one day and she saw a little bump poke out near his scrotum. Come to find out, he had three hernias that were causing him a lot of pain, especially when he ate. Once they were removed, he was fine. Awe…Note: If you try everything to soothe them- changing the diaper, feeding, checking temperature, easing gas pain, rocking, singing, dancing, magic show- and they still keep crying, it could be a sign of something more serious.
So for new moms who are disillusioned because the baby you got is not exactly the baby you wanted it might help to remember the words of my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher to her students whenever they’re disappointed over something they received: “YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU DON’T GET UPSET.” Good luck!