"Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body”
I have been thrust, wide eyed and blinking, into another dimension. In a way I have been preparing for this all my life – I had a somewhat serial animal rearing problem as a child. Up every two hours in the ticking dead of night feeding whatever poor doomed bald creature had fallen into my path. From rats to squirrels, warthogs to porcupines, elephants to puku, pratincoles to civets, I’ve had them all. So I am well prepared for motherhood in that I’m fine with the night feeds – really, what’s the big deal in the whole scheme of things. I’m familiar with the burning possessiveness (hey, don’t touch my baby), the high alert, the tuned ear.
On the one hand I am cautious about being a new mother bore, but on the other I want to stand atop the Hilbrow Tower and shout “I have a baby! The best most adorable perfect creature in the universe – you just try and tell me any different! Come here and say that!” I want to find an echo-ey enclave that will reverberate my message to every hidden cave and snow-jacketed mountain there is. So I shall do the next best thing – I shall blog. New mother bore be damned!
Already 4 weeks have whizzed by and I feel that I am standing on the deck, cold wind in my face, clutching at the railings, watching in bewilderment as Time whips by. And I am loving. Every. Minute.
So although I say I’ve reared animals and therefore I’m well prepared, obviously there is no comparison! The familiar feeling is there but there is absolutely nothing like it. See, I contradict myself…but I can. Because I am a mother. Because I say so. Haha! Hey, its fun!
I sneak a quick look at her and suddenly I realise that four hours have passed. The song "can't take my eyes off of you" playing a loop in my head.
The sense of humour failure
The baby is about a week old. I am still sore and tender new to all this.
I want to bite all visitors on the cheek with my newfound fangs when they come near. "Hey! Back off! That’s my baby! Seriously. BACK OFF!" The first week or two even my poor husband needs visiting rights to smell her milk-and-honey-head. He can’t even enjoy a celebratory glass of wine. “are you drunk? No, you can’t pick up the baby, you’ve had a glass of wine.“ And I burst into tears. "Is that Deep Heat I smell?" Oh dear, I have created a monster. My mother and sister are visiting and I am hiding in the room staring at the new baby. I have left the husband to entertain them. I come stalking into the room where they’re eating pizza and drinking wine. “Are you all getting pissed?” I am offered a glass of wine. “NO! I can’t drink wine. I’m breastfeeding. I have a baby to look after” I scowl and thunder back to the room. This is very un-Miranda behaviour. They’re all too scared to bring me pizza and have to goad each other and draw straws to see who will be the one brave enough.
People making passing comments about zipping the baby up in her body bag, the last tomato in the fridge etc Its not funny. Not at all.
The animal in me
I fully understand how lions and elephants will attack if you get between them and their young. I would kill for this baby without a second thought. My claws are out and I’m ready for battle. I am sure I have a heightened sense of smell and hearing too but that’s probably just my imagination. I certainly have a heightened sense of imagination. Every corner, step, person and inanimate object is a hidden danger, waiting to harm my baby.
The bursting heart
There is, at every waking and sleeping moment, a dull ache of tenderness and pride in my sternum. Whether I’m washing the dishes, picking flowers or drinking juice – it’s always there. We have done something incredible. We have made something unique. I will never ever love anything as I love this small 55cm, 4 and a half kilogram, milk-and-honey smelling creature.