When I was pregnant, everyone wanted to impart their advice about what I was about to get myself into. Out of everything everyone told me, one little tidbit stuck with me the most: my baby would expand my heart. Her prediction was right. When I held my son for the first time, I felt a love stronger than I'd ever known. Overwhelmed by it's beauty, I cried, and I pretty much haven't stopped crying since.
I cry at the drop of a hat now. Yep, I am that mom. The tiniest of milestones, changes, or TV commercials turns on my waterworks. Every morning I wake up and think, "today's the day I will feel more like my sane, prebaby self," but every day my emotions feel raw and exposed — much like my breasts with this whole breastfeeding thing. It's a strange feeling, much like I'm walking through life as fresh and inexperienced as my newborn.
I read all the baby books, so I was prepared for the bottle feedings, my baby's lack of sleeping, and their constant crying. What I didn't expect, however, was my crying over these exact same things (and so much more). I'm loving my new life, but I just wish everything would stop making me cry. If you think I'm exaggerating, here are just a few examples of things that have made me openly weep recently:
- My Baby Moving Up in Clothing Sizes. Every time my son's moved up in tiny shirt sizes, I find myself a mess. I miss that tiny baby in my belly, and each changing of shirt sizes means he's moving further away from being that tiny baby in my belly and closer to getting a job and moving out (dramatic, I know, but it's true!).
- My Baby Crying. I don't know who sobs louder, me or my son. When my son cries, there are times I find myself sobbing with him because I want so badly to be able to console him. And sometimes, no matter how many different tactics I employ, they simply don't help. All I can do is be there with him, hold him, and cry a little, too.
- My Baby Laughing. My little guy laughing is the best sound I've ever heard. His smile is pure joy, and his laugh is infectious. So, each time he laughs, I find myself happy-crying at this tiny little miracle.
- Graduations. Any and all graduations make me think one thing: my baby will one day graduate high school and go off to college. Cue the sobbing.
- My Hair. When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, it's all over. All the baby spit-up (and lack of showering) is making my hair look like a 1980s music video. I hope my baby recognizes me without a hat someday.
- Spilled Milk. I never thought I'd be literally wailing over spilled milk, but it has happened. Each drop is more precious than gold. This milk is the kind that comes from my body, and when I spilled almost half a bottle, I became as upset as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones when she doesn't have enough wine.
- Food Expiring in the Fridge. Yeah, it's this bad. Once I see the label on the cheese and realize that I can't eat it, I'm instantly moved to tears. What a waste. Maybe I can scrape off the mold and it will still be Gouda (had to)?
- Potty-Training Commercials. Diaper changing time has become a fun little bonding time for baby and me. Sure, there have been some pee-ful moments, but mostly I'm enjoying every minute. These horrible commercials remind me that one day my baby won't need me in the same way, and that's proving hard for this new mom and her new open heart. Plus, his diapers make good emergency tissues.
- Date Night. I love going out with my husband. Lately, though, this means I'm leaving my baby. So, date nights have taken a slightly different turn with me crying during the dinner portion only to fall asleep during the movie portion. Luckily, my husband was already used to me falling asleep during our dates.
- Talking to My Mom. I know now how much my mother did for me as a newborn, and each time I talk to her, I burst into thankful tears, because now I understand what she went through.
- Stepping on the Scale. I gained a whole other person with my pregnancy. Strangely, when I had my baby, I didn't magically drop all my baby weight in the delivery room like most celebrities seem to. Now, when I step on the scale I just calculate how much holding the tissue box will add.
- That Sarah McLachlan Dog Commercial. Need I say more?
- My Skinny Jeans. I can see them hanging in my closet reminding me of what life used to be like before having my son. My skinny jeans and I used to go out on the town, and now they hang as a reminder of a life lived before baby. I miss the woman who could fit in her skinny jeans and go out to lunch on a whim.
- My Husband Saying "I Love You" Any romantic gesture makes me cry, whether it be something my husband does or something a TV husband does. The simplest of actions and just a whispered "I love you" said at the right time can bring up a cascade of tears.
- Pregnant Women. When I see these women out and about, I'm immediately reminded of my months as a preggo. I become so nostalgic, and my heart aches for those times again. I miss the intimacy that my son and I shared, and that's when I reach for a clean diaper from the diaper bag to wipe my face.
- Watching Him Sleep. Watching my son sleep is magical. His breathing is soft and sure. Looking at him while he's dreaming, I marvel at the fact that he's here with me at all. There is no truer magic than this, and there is no truer love than the love I feel for him. Bring out the Kleenex.
- Little Baby Caps. When I delivered my son, our stay in the hospital was special. I only remember bits and pieces of that time, but I can remember clear as day those tiny hospital caps that all babies are given. Whenever I see one, I'm instantly transported back to that time of holding my newborn for those first precious days. And Kleenex's stock goes up again.
- Our Song. I had a special song that I played for my son when he was in still in my belly. I'd play it when he seemed restless and he would settle down instantly. Now that he's outside of my body, when I hear it, I can't help but burst into tears as I recall how special our connection once was.
- Mr. Rogers. Now that I have a baby, I'm revisiting old childhood programs, and anything this man says warms my heart. His soft, reassuring tone is wonderful. He makes happy tears fall because he likes me just the way I am.
- Grandmothers. Now when I see a grandmother, I'm stopped in my tracks. I know that one day this will be me — stopping unsuspecting pregnant young ladies in line for the bathroom to let them know how their lives will be forever changed. With a smile I will tell them their hearts will expand like they never thought possible. And then I'll do them an even greater favor: I will hand them a box of Kleenex.