People say a lot of things to you when you have a brand new baby. “How cute!” “Oh, how precious!” “Boy or girl?” “How old” and always, always, always some variation of “enjoy it! They grow up too quickly!”
Seriously. I don’t think I went a single day without that last one.
At first, I felt guilty. Because I really wasn’t enjoying it. Postpartum anxiety hit me hard, and I wasn’t enjoying much of anything to begin with. Add sleep deprivation, nursing struggles, and the constant worry that you’re completely screwing up, and “enjoy” isn’t exactly the word I’d use to describe how I experience that first year.
I wondered if something was wrong with me. I mean, all these people who have older kids look back on the baby years with fondness. Clearly, I was missing something.
I received treatment for my anxiety, figuring that MUST be the reason I hated the baby phase. I had a treatable illness that was preventing me from enjoying the baby times like everyone else.
But as I’ve come to the maintenance phase, I’ve realized something.
I’m really not a baby person.
It’s not just that I dislike the hard work that comes with having a newborn. (Though I do, because it is a LOT of work.) It’s that I like older kids better. When I worked in the classroom, I taught high school for a reason. The older my son gets, the cooler I think he is. The older my daughter gets, the more comfortable I am around her. I loved my children fiercely from the moment I knew I was pregnant, and I would die for them at any stage in their development, but I’ll be honest….
To me, the baby stage is just the dues you have to pay to get to hang out with these awesome kids.
And they ARE awesome. So, I’m 100% willing to go through the baby phase again because while I may not necessarily enjoy it when they are babies, I will be forever thankful that I get to see the amazing people they become.