I’m afraid of my baby.
But there was a time when that tiny human scared me to my core.
And when I say “scared” I don’t mean in the scary movie-walking alone in a dark alley-Halloween night-creaky doors-and-shadows kind of scared. Just genuinely scared.
The first time I realized I was afraid of her was when we were dressing her to go home from the hospital. Since I went into labor a full month before my due date I was not exactly prepared. As in, I didn’t have the little cutesy outfit from one of those ridiculous online boutiques. Instead, I had a gray newborn Carter’s sleeper with a pink mouse on the side of it and a non-matching white and gray polka dot hat. This outfit was picked out by Mitch who was tasked with packing the diaper bag while I feverishly threw shit in my hospital bag. I remember hollering into the nursery “Just pick out the smallest outfit, I don’t have many newborn clothes, yet.” In fact, I think I only had two newborn outfits in her closet at the time.
As I was taking off her hospital issued long sleeve onesie I realized I didn’t have my own white short sleeve onesie to put on under this gray outfit. While, I know the onesie was unnecessary it was an oversight on my part that bothered me immensely. I felt extremely unprepared in that moment while I attempted to maneuver this little girls arms and legs into this boring outfit. As I zipped up the one piece over her bare chest I felt my own tighten.
We placed her in the car seat and I tucked a receiving blanket around her and over her lap hoping that would make up for the missing onesie. And from then on – I was terrified of her.
I’m sure every new parent is a little nervous or hesitant at first but this was more than that. I jumped out of my skin every time she made a peep let alone cried. I didn’t understand how someone that I loved so much could send me into a constant state of panic.
Once I was able to identify and come to terms with this feeling I tried to find the root cause and to this day I am still searching. Maybe it was fear of the unknown, or of unintentionally hurting her with my lack of knowledge or maybe it was postpartum. All I know is that this fear kept be confined to the house for months. The most I would travel was to my mother’s house or the local grocery store (each only 10 minutes away.) Looking back I am shocked at how much I was afraid of her. I can’t really pinpoint when this fear faded but it did and I eventually gained some confidence that I might actually know what I’m doing.
And here we are, quickly approaching her first birthday, and it concurrently feels like the shortest yet longest year of my life. When people tell you “Enjoy it! It goes by fast!”
and “Oh you’ll miss these days!”
it is true. And cliche. And sad. My heart aches when I think of how much Stella has grown over this past year. I wish I could go back and re-live it because I don’t think I enjoyed it enough.
However, the joy of watching her grow and learn new things everyday is slowly making up for the time I felt I missed with her.
I’m happy to say I am no longer afraid of her – I am amazed by her.
Amazed that she managed to survive without that damn white onesie.