At 31 years old I became pregnant. On purpose. Through the traditional method of combining my husband’s and my own DNA by way of intercourse.
My husband and I discussed this ahead of time, we decided that the time was as right as it was ever going to be – and boom, the rest is history.
Now, even though technically I agreed to all this ahead of time. It doesn’t stop my brain from being really inconvenienced by the idea that everything was about to change, my priorities completely redirected, and that my life is not going to be solely about me anymore. It was now going to be entirely about another person, who will literally do nothing except run me through the gauntlet 24/7 for the rest of my life.
I hope I’m painting a real clear picture here on how excited I was to learn we were pregnant.
So maybe I missed that day at school – or that maternal part of my brain didn’t fully develop or something because I did not get the hype. When we unearthed the news, all these women were frantically running around talking about how exciting it was going to be to have a BABY. Omg. A BABY. Like, if I had a rough day or complained in the least about my feelings or symptoms – the comfort was always that I was going to have a BABY. Like somehow this was reassurance and would solve all my concerns.
Meanwhile I’m sitting over here like: am I the only human being with a vagina that could give two-sh*ts about having my own baby? I care not for babies. Never really have. They are like a less furry, less cute, less entertaining form of a puppy. I would much rather have a puppy. Can I get pregnant and deliver a puppy?
Anyways. There’s a whole middle part to this story that I’m going to cut across for the sake of efficiency. I got through pregnancy, I had a baby. And learned that babies are okay if you made them yourself. But I haven’t lost my ability to empathize with my anti-baby brethren. So I thought I’d offer this piece of writing to act in service of you that feel inherently awkward around babies and new parents.
Okay. So. You remember in kindergarten when you brought home that art project? You were SO excited to show your mum because you kicked some serious ass on it and it was the most amazing thing that your little six year old self had ever accomplished? You couldn’t WAIT to get home and show her.
And when you did, she told you it was so awesome! And you felt like a million bucks. And she gave it a prime location on the fridge, reserved for only the best, most amazing art. She even bragged about it to her friends – and every time you overheard her, you just beamed because you were SO proud of yourself.
Your new-parent friends are basically kindergarteners. They just made what they think is like, the BEST thing EVER. Like, it deserves TWO fridges.
And much like those kindergarteners… even if what they made isn’t really that good… don’t tell them that. It’s your job as their friend, family member, or loved one to simply put a smile on your face and tell them they did an awesome job.
The baby itself doesn’t care how much you like it. The baby poops and eats at the same time. The level at which it cares about your perception of it is less than zero. Babies are confident AF. They need no emotional reassurance about how many people like them. It’s admirable really. #goals
So if you want to feel less awkward around babies… know that the baby really has nothing to do with it. And keep telling the parents/kindergarteners what a great job they did, how proud you are, and it’s just the most awesome thing ever. Just like 6-year-olds, when they are told what they need to hear in that moment, they won’t question the sincerity.
Re: holding the baby. If you don’t want to hold the baby because a) babies are gross b) you think you’ll accidentally kill it or c) you literally have never cared less about something than you do about holding a baby. NO PROBLEM.
Here’s what you do. You act like you’re really flattered to be entrusted with such a task, but you’re just so nervous you aren’t up for it. If they insist (and I hope they don’t – bad etiquette on their part)… do something like sneeze into your hands and then reach out to take the baby. Or develop a sudden cough of sorts. First-time parents will be so distracted by trying to find the lysol that they’ll forget they offered.
So in summary. The baby has less to do with the whole act of coming to see the baby – and it’s way more about your friend/family member and giving them a platform to show off their crappy new art homework.
Smile, congratulate them, shower them with praise and adoration – and tada! You’re golden.
(PS. If they make a lame joke about you changing the babies diaper… you don’t have to laugh at that. That’s brutal. You might want to consider getting new friends.)