by Katy Newton Naas
I will always remember the day I gave birth to my oldest son.
He decided to make his appearance a couple weeks early, which doesn’t surprise me now that I know him; Aven has always done things his own way. It didn’t matter how many books I’d read on childbirth – nothing could have prepared me for the twelve hours he took to make his entrance into this world. But nothing could have prepared me for the way I’d feel the first time I held in my arms, either. It was the purest, most magical love I’d ever experienced.
Those two days in the hospital following his birth were wonderful and difficult and everything in between. I was so relieved when they released us – I was ready to go home and be a family. We arrived at our house shortly after noon and enjoyed our time with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. The house was full and sweet little Aven spent lots of time in the arms of many people who loved him.
It was after everyone left that I began to fall apart.
I rocked Aven to sleep and laid him carefully in his crib for the first time. I tiptoed out of the room and pulled the door almost closed behind me, putting my ear against it to make sure he hadn’t stirred.
And then the panic set in. Now what? I had planned to head to my own bedroom – right across the hall – and get ready for bed. But I was suddenly terrified to get too far away from him. Would I hear him if he cried? Would I know how to soothe him?
It’s difficult to admit even to myself the thoughts that entered my mind next, much less put it out there in writing for other people to read. But in the spirit of honesty, I am going to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was terrified, and my thoughts turned dark. For a few moments, I felt regret. I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’m not cut out to be a mom. What on earth made me think I was ready for this? What have I done?
And so I did what many other women do when they feel helpless – I called my mom. “Mom, what if I don’t hear him when he wakes up?”
She laughed and assured me, “You will. Don’t worry.”