7 hours ago
"Is she a good baby" the well-meaning acquaintance asks me. I pause to think about the right way to answer. I'm not sure so I shrug and say, "yeah, she's sweet." But the question stays with me. Is she a good baby? Aren't all babies "good?" What does that question really mean? If she is asking whether my baby is "easy" then the answer is a resounding "no." If she's asking me if she's happy, the answer is also, "usually no." If she's asking if my baby seems to like me, the answer - I'm afraid to admit - is also, "no." If she's asking me if she's a good baby compared to other babies then the answer is, "how the heck would I know? I have no idea and I ask myself that question every time she cries and I can't figure out why." When it's 3am or 10am or 4pm and she's crying for some unknown reason and it feels like she's saying, "mom, I'm unhappy. Why can't you make me happy? And I feel panic and confusion and doubt and rage all at once. And I ask myself, "why can't I do this well? Why am I no good at this motherhood thing? Why does it feel like everyone else can do this just fine except me?" And the secret fear that I'm not good enough and that I'm doing everything wrong creeps closer and closer to the surface. And I do everything in my exhausted state to keep that fear at bay, to keep it from taking over. Because what I know, and what I feel is greater and bigger than all of this is the fact that this is my daughter. This tiny, helpless, utterly confusing and mysterious beautiful being, is mine. Forever. And although I feel ill equipped to handle this absurdly difficult tiny baby stage, I know in my head that this will be a blip on the radar of her magnificent, long, wonderful life. That even a year or two from now I will forget the screaming fits, the terrifying mystery of it all, and I will see the personality of my precious baby transforming into my precocious little girl full of wonder and curiosity. And because I went through the totally dependent, needy, tear-filled trenches with this , I feel an immeasurable love for her. This little girl that will be my daughter for the rest of our lives. So is my baby a "good baby?” It doesn't matter. Because she's mine.