You have now been alive for 45 days. Somehow that amount of time simultaneously seems like a lifetime and a blink of an eye. My days have begun to blur into endless sessions of diaper changes and feedings. Despite you being my fourth child, I still worry that I am somehow messing up at this whole motherhood thing. You know what would really help ease my fears? A smile. I have been waiting these past forty five days for your first smile. I have caught glimpses of it when you are gassy or when I brush your cheek with my finger, but I have yet to see an intentional smile.
It is funny that people mention how easy it is to forget about the pains of childbirth; that our forgetting is how we can trick ourselves to go through it all again. I find that the experience that I tend to block out is the limbo after birth where I wait for you to first smile at me. The time where we enter into cycles of repetition: eat, sleep, change, eat, burp, change, sleep, eat, etc. throughout the day and night regardless of whether the rest of the world is awake or asleep. The time where coffee and cuddling are what convince me that I have gotten a full night’s sleep. Surely I must be slipping into delusion as I repeat the same steps with such little sleep. Perhaps this is why I question my ability to parent you.
No matter the reason, the truth is that I do question whether or not I am giving you my best. It is especially difficult since you have three older siblings that are also vying for my attention. So if you could please smile at me and let me know that we’re ok, I would really like that. I know that your first smile will come right at the moment that I need it the most, so I will wait for it. Until then, I will take your grip on my shirt as I hold you as a sign that you like being around me.