We’ve had opportunities to spend a lot of time with babies lately. Our neighbor has a lovely little girl who is four or five months old, and she smiles everytime she sees me and J. We spent last weekend at my parents’ place, and we all babysat my two-month-old neice for a day and a half while my sister worked (look for a password protected post on this soon). We haven’t had babies this present in our lives in a long time, and while it’s nice, it’s making me long for this feeling we used to have.
Before J and I started down this path of making our family, we would sit and baby watch at the farmer’s market and tiptoe through the baby section at department stores with this feeling I can only describe as a craving. We WANTED a baby of our own, and any time we could spend with babies was a religious experience. Baby clothes were sacred. We didn’t have many babies around us in our academic world, and when we did have time with them, it was brief. As a result, babies resembled celebrities to us; we were their biggest fans.
I have to say, as painful as it could be sometimes, I loved that feeling. It propelled me forward through weightloss and healthy lifestyle choices. It gave me crazy hope and reminded me what all of this was for. As you can see, I’m speaking in the past tense. I don’t have that same feeling anymore, and I miss it.
Instead, I have this weird numbness when I see babies. Sure, they’re cute, and I love being with them. It’s great to see J with them, but I don’t have that crazed baby fan feeling. I can see baby clothes and I don’t even come close to melting into a pile of goo. This is not to say that I’ve lost my desire to have a child. Perhaps I’ve gotten to a point that it’s not so much about a baby but about a family, and I can’t help but think that’s far more healthy. It’s more long-term, holistic even.
But I’ve been feeling lately, as I snuggle these two different baby girls and watch them grow that I wish I could have that same enthusiasm–that naive eagerness to hold a baby in my arms. It infuriates me that this process takes that away and replaces it with things like anxiety, depression, and desperation. What’s odd is that I’m in none of those places right now. I’m in a place of near apathy, and that feels dangerous. This break hasn’t turned into the healthfest I imagined it to be. I’ve not lost weight, not made any major psychological growth, and while there are glimmers of hope when we think of new possibilities and techniques, it typically fades quickly to be replaced with more mundane everyday thoughts.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not in a bad place. I’m just missing those old feelings and missing the woman I used to be. Is there any chance of finding her again?