Which is a problem because I am pregnant. Here’s the thing: I’m just uncomfortable around babies. I was reminded of this recently on a family vacation upon meeting a new nephew. I very much have the attitude of a child-less person when confronted with another’s infant. They are cute from afar, and it’s fun to purchase tiny clothes, but for the most part I don’t want to get too close. I worry they will spit up on me and start crying and I won’t know what to do. I thought this attitude would change after I had a child. That perhaps I would learn that magical formula of rocking and soothing. Or that I would long to smell the milky baby scent and soft fuzzy head. Instead, I nod politely and rush off to entertain the older kids. Maybe I’m just not a Mama. You know the ones, the baby whisperers, who cast evil glances at children older than a year. Their primary skill set revolves around the youngest humans. They can breastfeed with no issues and quiet a crying infant with just the tip of their pinkie and a soothing voice. Instead I’m a full on Mom. When I’m not pregnant, I like to be the one out there with the dads, running with a soccer ball. I laugh at the kids' jokes and come up with goofy games for them to play, but those babies, man, those babies really make me nervous.
I figured it would change since I’ve already gone through the infant stage---maybe some part of me would long to bond with this new child; instead, I am terrified. It’s even worse this time because I know better. I know that along with the cute onesies and soft hair are the sleepless nights, the endless screaming and crying. It was the non-communication that really got to me. They seem like small aliens, incapable of complex emotions beyond crying. The first year was such a blur to me. There are happy pictures from that time, but mostly I remember the crying and the boredom. And when I say crying, I feel like I should clarify that. It’s more than just a few pathetic sobs, babies cry at a heart-wrenching rate. I would be jolted awake multiple times per night from a dead sleep into full on anxiety mode. My heart would be racing and the longer he cried, the sicker I felt. I couldn’t disassociate from the screaming, couldn’t understand it, so I cried too. I felt as if I were fighting a war every night, waiting for the end to come.
It did come, finally. Charley grew up. So now I have a little boy whom I love more than anyone in the world, and I worry everyday of this pregnancy that that will always be the case. I worry that when this next baby comes I will retreat to my older child, seek solace, and block out the younger one. I worry I will never love the younger one as much as my first born. Mostly, I just worry.