A friend of mine had a baby a few weeks ago, and she has been sharing pictures of her newborn. This surprises people, but I’ve never been completely disinterested in babies. I’ve always thought they were cute and wanted to hold them. But before I had a baby, this was similar to my interest in puppies or kittens or other small, cute things. A desire to cuddle them, a “squee” response.
It’s different now that I have had a baby. When I look at my friend’s newborn, I see Edith as a newborn, and so I experience an overwhelming need to hold him. I want to hear all about him, I want to smell his tiny fuzzy head. Really, I want my own newborn back, but I want for her to exist simultaneously with my current determined, curious, talkative daughter (and ideally also along with my chubby teddy bear of a six-month-old). I’ve been having dreams about newborn babies lately.
This is all so purely biological that it feels reductive, like I am not me at all, but that being me the way I used to be was merely a prelude to turning into a big bosomy maternal urge, with no interest or purpose other than nurturing the next generation.
Not every woman is affected this way by childbirth and early parenthood — I know plenty of women who say they weren’t any more interested in other babies after they had their own baby than they were before, that they only ever cared about their own children. I always thought I would be that way, so I’m very surprised by my now overwhelming interest in all the world’s babies.
I hope it goes away.