Saturday, July 28, 2018

Baby Boy XIII

Dear Baby Boy,

In our culture, there is a dichotomy regarding attitudes about pregnancy, giving birth, and motherhood. On one side, everything is easy. Go about your life as you always did. Continue to move, continue to work, continue to eat, continue to carry on conversations as you always have. Allow your body to change just enough to get the job done, but no more. Don't lose your personality or your brain or your career for the sake of a child. Simply fit that child into your regularly scheduled adult behaviors and carry on, because it is not that big of a deal. On the other hand, everything is a much bigger deal than it ever was. Change everything about who you are and all of your lifestyle choices to make sure you create the perfect vessel for carrying a new human life, ensure you bring that life into the world in the most spiritual and beautiful way you ever could have, and create an environment of love and nurturing, ensuring that child grows and develops as perfectly as possible. Your body will change but so will your heart and your entire world view because you will now feel the greatest love you have ever felt and the strongest, most unbreakable, most life changing bond you have ever experienced. No one else can possibly relate to you in the same way anymore, you are a cut above every other adult who has never had a child (or who cannot have a child) and this will be the toughest but most rewarding job you will ever have.

Some people quantify this job using pay scales for domestic workers. Some people deride those who dare change their social media avatars to an image of their child because what a disgusting display of lack of identity.

The truth is somewhere in the middle.

When I was growing you inside of me, I did not love you. You did not exist. You were an idea. You were sometimes a feeling. You were a series of physical changes that grew more uncomfortable over time but did not make me feel like utter shit. I wanted to provide for you the best way possible, so I did change my diet and exercise and did everything I believed I could to ensure you had the healthiest possible start. It was relatively easy as far as things go, but it was emotionally taxing, largely due to outside forces. There were expectations put on me and I could not relate to them. I could not relate to you.

Giving birth to you was traumatic and terrible but not because of any physical aspect. The medical community fucked me over hard and robbed my body of its natural abilities...something they were waiting and eager to do from the moment they began providing care for us. Every decision I was expected to make was not about me. It was, supposedly, about you, but not really. We were a medical procedure gone wrong and no one really cared about us, so long as they could get you out and keep me alive and check all the boxes they were supposed to check. When you were born, I did not feel a greater love than I had ever felt, because I really don't even know what love is supposed to feel like. Love is a cultural ideal that I do not understand. I did not suddenly feel a surge of protective emotions or a bond that was stronger than any other bond. I wanted to care for you, and I enjoyed you, but how could I feel bonded to you? I didn't even know you, and I still don't.

As you have grown, I have neither felt some sort of amazing connection to myself or the universe nor have I felt burdened with the impossible. You are bright and funny and interesting. I do like being around you. You make me laugh a lot and your growth is a source of constant interest and wonder to me...not because it is some sort of amazing miracle, but because it is interesting to watch a human baby develop. I do not like you all the time. You make life more difficult because of your needs. I cannot forget about you (although I did once for about a minute). I cannot leave you unattended. I cannot ignore your needs or your existence for my own needs or existence. You must be cared for because I brought you into this world and it is my job to keep you alive and to teach you how to exist in this world until you can do it all on your own.

I do not feel like a different person because of you, but I do not feel weighed down by you either.

We have our ups and downs and I am sorry that I yell at you when you won't lie still for a diaper change or won't go to sleep. I spend the vast majority of my time caring for you by myself and it is sometimes exhausting. I worry that I'm not doing it right...that I should be taking you to more places, reading more books, singing more songs, and feeding you more food. I sometimes want you to go away because I want ten minutes where I don't have to think about you at all...but I also feel like I want you at all times and when I am away from you for more than an hour or two I miss you more than I've ever missed anyone. You always seem to be loud when I really want some quiet, but I really love talking to you as you learn new sounds. You babble on and on and it is a source of almost constant amusement. I hate that you are now walking everywhere and climbing on everything and still putting every piece of dirt and fuzz and whatever in your mouth. It is very stressful because I cannot leave you unsupervised for even the time it takes to make you a bottle. But I love it because it is just so fucking interesting and you are quite an adventurous explorer. I hate that our bed smells like pee and that you stick your hand right down in your poop whenever I change a diaper. I don't like giving you baths and I'm quite certain I'm failing at introducing you to solid foods because I hate the mess and won't do it. You have met very few other children because everywhere that is not home makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but when you have met other children, your interactions have been hilarious.

I have no hopes or dreams for you, other than to ensure you are alive and to give you every possible opportunity to grow and develop. I don't care how big you'll be or if you'll fulfill societal ideas of your gender and biological sex. Everyone else seems to give a shit about these things and I don't. I look forward to getting to know you as you develop into a whole human being. From what I know now, you are the kind of person that brightens up every room you're in. I think you'll have a million friends who will befriend you for life. You are incredibly smart and I am sure you'll conquer every subject you desire to learn. You are strong and inquisitive and very athletic. You are develop physical traits early. Maybe you'll play some sort of sports, maybe not. I believe you will be able to do whatever you desire because you have a strong, solid body. I think you will want to learn because you are such a little investigator now and I can never hide anything from you, even when it would be incredibly helpful if I could.

I don't know who you will be, but I look forward to getting to know whomever that is.

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