I never want the newborn stage to end

A tiny little head is resting on my shoulder – taking a nap, mouth wide open. I can feel every rise and fall of her chest as she breathes. The smell of his breath is mesmerizing, and I kiss his face a thousand times. Right now, I feel an otherwise unattainable level of happiness and peace. My perpetually racing and anxious mind is remarkably calm. It’s a moment like no other, a high like no other, these newborns of mine.

I am hypnotized by the magic of their details. A newborn’s smooth skin, perfectly curled eyelashes and folded ears. Their thin, long fingernails and wrinkled little toes— oh my god, don’t even kick me on the fucking toes! The smell of their freshly washed hair and the little folds in their necks. The gasps, yawns, sneezes and stretches – to witness it, I feel like I’ve discovered the secrets of the universe. I could marvel at their site for an eternity.

I am comforted by their attachment. The bond is so simple yet intense. This perfectly symbiotic relationship in nature is vital for both of us. For me, oxytocin is better than Celexa.

There is no struggle for independence, no pushing me away or wiping out my kisses, just complete surrender to my obnoxiously suffocating love. I wish I could smother all my children in this love forever. Holding them, caring for them, and wrapping them around me in tangled Scandinavian cloth bags overrides my overactive nervous system and soothes my restless mind.

It’s my real euphoria, where I’m most comfortable and where I feel most complete.

I am relieved and grateful for the life restrictions newborn babies bring. The pressures to attend and partake in all the bullshit in life fade in the first two months with a new baby. Days are spent in spit-stained sweatshirts, under cozy blankets, with few outside distractions. Older siblings crowd the couch for family movie nights, and despite the inevitable chaos, it all feels really good.

Unfortunately, this neonatal phase is brief. I guess it must be, since it’s so consuming and exhausting. It passes in the blink of an eye and leaves few traces. Crusty umbilical stumps fall off, toes stink and diapers are put away. Today, as my fourth and last baby scampers around the kitchen saying my name, I feel intense grief.

It’s a kind of greedy, selfish grieving, which I often feel guilty even to acknowledge. Because I am simultaneously very grateful. I am in awe of the gifts I have received. But I can’t help wanting more.

I want to keep moving forward with my four growing and changing children. I also want to do everything with a little human tree frog cuddled on my shoulder because I just can’t imagine ever feeling that joy, that high again.

So how can I stop?

At the moment, I am aiming and working tirelessly for a change of mentality. I direct and focus on the gratitude I feel for what I have right now, rather than what is behind me. I try to get excited about the stages of life to come that I haven’t experienced yet. I try to imagine a life with pockets of freedom that comes with older children who can walk, feed and groom themselves. I set limits on my social media consumption because Zuckerberg litters my algorithm with cooing babies tuned to heartbreaking music. Perhaps more importantly, I’m giving myself time in hopes that one day it won’t be so devastating.

One day I will see a new baby without wishing to have another one of my own. Someday I’ll be scrolling through old hospital photos and won’t feel the desperate desire to go back. Someday I will find this newborn happiness in other areas of my life. One day. Not today, however.

Samm Burnham Davidson is an ex-lawyer mother of four who swears a lot. She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts and can be found on Instagram @sammbdavidson.

Comments are closed.