So, I’ve been a mom for 2 months now. (Well, longer if you count the time that I was pregnant. Which should totally be counted.) But I feel like yesterday I underwent a rite of passage that made me feel like I had become a “real” mommy. Like everything before then was just Mommyhood-lite. What was that all-important event?
J got his first round of shots.
Oh, my gosh. The drama that ensued. I mean, for a 2 month old, J is pretty dramatic (I have no idea where he gets that from). He screamed bloody murder as soon as the first needle touched his leg and did not stop crying until well after the nurse left the room. I felt so terrible. I held him in my lap as she gave them to him, hoping that would help calm him down, but, not so much.
I couldn’t watch the nurse actually give him the shots. I have this thing where I can’t watch needles go into skin. I’m not really scared of needles, per se….just seeing them go in totally freaks me out. I couldn’t even watch when I got my own tattoo. So I was cringing when she pulled out the needle and prepared to put it in my poor baby’s leg. I think I may have actually closed my eyes as it was going in. I’m sure we made quite a sight–him, red faced and screaming, with his mouth turned down in that pitiful pout he gets, and me, wincing and closing my eyes like I’m getting the shot myself.
But the crazy thing was, I could almost feel it. No, I wasn’t getting any shots. But I swear I could almost feel the pain. And as much as I hate shots (and pain), I wanted to take it for him. I would’ve gladly gotten his shots for him, if it would’ve helped at all. It was such a strange feeling. I’ve never felt that way before. Sure, there are people that you say you would give your life for, or take their pain for. I have people like that–my family members, my husband, my best friend. But I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve felt such an instinctual protective feeling like that. I never knew you could almost physically feel another person’s pain.
Then of course, we had a little crankiness in the evening afterwards. His pediatrician said he’d probably take a long nap when we got home. Well, he didn’t. (My kid. Always doing things his own way. I don’t know where he gets that from either.) So that evening, it was a combination of him being uncomfortable and overly tired. I gave him some baby pain reliever, and that helped, but he would not fall into a deep sleep. Then after a few hours, the medicine wore off and he was beside himself again. So I basically sat there the whole evening and into the night holding and comforting him.
My mommy instincts kicked in last night. I was nervous about when to give him medicine, because I didn’t want to give it to him if he didn’t need it. But all of a sudden, I knew I needed to give it to him. When he was obviously needing sleep, I knew I should sing to him, and it helped. He fell asleep. I hadn’t really experienced the whole mommy instinct thing until last night. It was pretty cool, actually.
We eventually fell asleep on the couch together around 2 AM, watching some lame baby show on Netflix. And when we woke up this morning, he gave me a big smile, and I knew my happy boy was finally back. It was a long night, but all that mattered was that my baby boy felt better. I felt almost proud of myself for surviving my first night of comforting him through a rough time. And even prouder for being successful at it.
I know he won’t ever remember what happened. But I will. And it really made me realize what mothers go through. We should really appreciate our moms more. I never fully realized the love and emotion they have for their children until now. I saw this quote online once, before I had J, even before I got pregnant:
“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” –Elizabeth Stone
I really didn’t know what that meant before. In all honesty, I thought it was kind of a lame quote. But I know now. And I can’t really explain it, because it’s one of those things like finding your future husband or wife–you can’t explain it, you just know. But just believe me when I say it’s true.