My son was 2-weeks-old when I was left alone with him for the first time. After visiting for a week, my mother was back at her home in another state, and after using two weeks of vacation (because paid family leave isn't a thing) my partner was back to work. So there I was, a brand new, still sore, completely terrified new mom, holding her baby in her living room. All alone. I can safely say I had 101 thoughts when I was left alone with my baby for the first time; not all of them necessarily inspiring or votes of self-confidence.
Motherhood is scary, in a way that's difficult to articulate if you haven't experienced that all-encompassing fear for yourself. I mean, I was pretty scared when I realized I was pregnant, and I was scared when my water broke and knew that in a few (read: many) hours I was going to be a mom. However, those fears were nothing when compared to the terror I felt when my son was placed in my arms. All of a sudden, I was endowed with this overwhelming and awe-inspiring responsibility, and living up to that responsibility can seem nothing if not daunting. So, when it came time for me to buck up and be alone with my baby, I was nervous. I knew that while I had people I could call that were really just a few minutes away, I was on my own. I was going to be the one feeding my son and changing my son and making sure my son survived the eight or so hours he spent with me, and only me. Yikes. That's a tall order, my friends.
So yeah, I had some thoughts when I was alone with my son for the fist time. While many of them were pretty scary and hilarious and almost a little sad at times, they were also necessary. The first day I spent alone with my son reminded me that I really could handle this whole mom thing. Sure, it's scary and yes, I would doubt myself from time to time, but I could do it. I could be the mom my son needed and deserved.
"I Can Do This"
Ah, the false sense of security. So helpful. So inaccurate.
"He Just Sleeps"
Here's the beauty of newborn babies: they don't really do all that much.
The initial fear I had of staying home with my baby by myself subsided rather quickly (at first) when I realized that my baby doesn't do anything. Like, at all.
"He Doesn't Move"
The only way this baby was going to move was if and/or when I moved him. Other than that, he just laid there and slept or pooped or peed or breastfed. I mean, I can handle a human being that isn't mobile.
"How Hard Can This Be?"
Ah, yes. The famous last words every parent says at various moments throughout their life. You ask yourself, "How hard can it be?" when you're thinking about becoming a parent. You ask yourself, "How hard can it be?" when you think about labor and delivery. You ask yourself, "How hard can it be?' when you think about caring for a newborn. You definitely ask yourself, "How hard can it be?" when you decide to be alone with your baby for a substantial amount of time.
In the end, we just have to lie to ourselves and say it'll be relatively easy because, if we knew how hard it really is, we wouldn't even try.
"Yeah, This Won't Be Difficult At All"
Ha ha. Ha. Oh, man.
"Where's My Phone?"
If I'm going to be spending time by myself and a newborn who can't speak, I'm going to need the sweet, sweet security my phone provides. Thank you, Facebook and Twitter and texting. You all are the real MVPs.
"Wait. Where's My Phone Charger?"
Of course, since I've been using my phone to pass the time during night feedings, it's close to dying and my phone charger is nowhere to be found (and probably buried under a ridiculously large pile of baby stuff).
"This Isn't That Scary"
Ha ha. Ha. Oh, man.
"I Wonder If The Baby Is As Nervous As I Am"
I mean, I think I'm keeping it together and hiding my anxiety rather well, so I'm going to say that I'm at least capable of tricking my newborn baby into thinking I'm as confident as I'm attempting to appear to be.
"This Was A Mistake"
This whole entire thing was a mistake. Letting me leave the hospital with a tiny little human was a mistake. Leaving me alone with said tiny little human was a mistake. We messed up here, people. We done messed up.
"If I Can Handle Pregnancy, Labor, And Delivery, I Can Handle A Few Hours Alone With My Baby, Right?"
Yeah, let's backtrack a little and revisit all that I've already accomplished. If I can handle the discomforts of pregnancy and the overwhelming fatigue and pain of labor and delivery, I can handle this little baby for a few hours by myself. Right?
"Who The Hell Thought This Was A Good Idea?"
No, but really. Who can I blame the whole, "I can totally handle the baby for a few hours by myself," on? This was dumb and someone needs to be held responsible.
"I Need Help"
So. Much. Help. Who do I send an SOS signal to? If I called 911, would they feel inclined to send an officer who happens to be a mother, and has some expertise in this particular area of parenting? (Like, all the areas of parenting?)
"Maybe My Neighbor Will Come Over?"
This is why we decided to live in a city and not in the middle of nowhere. I'm calling Mrs. Aronowitz. I bet she would be up for a little mid-day hangout session.
"I'll Call My Mom"
This is why we have parents. To help us when we make the decision to become parents ourselves.
"Why Isn't My Mom Answering?"
OK, what is the point of having a mom if she doesn't answer every single one of your million phone calls at any time (day or night) and with a level of enthusiasm that says, "I'm so exited to help you through your latest freakout, thank you for letting me be part of this particular moment in your consistently overwhelming, sleep-deprived life."
"It Happened. I Had A Baby And Everyone Abandoned Me."
You know that fear you have towards the end of your pregnancy (or maybe throughout your entire pregnancy)? The one that says, "You're going to have a baby and become boring and no one will like you or want to hang out with you again?"
Yeah. I have a feeling that fear is now being realized. Gulp.
"My Partner Doesn't Really Need A Job"
I mean, honestly, does he really have to go to work? Does he really need to leave me and the baby at any time and for any reasons? We can just show a picture of our sweet newborn to the credit card companies and our landlord, and they'll wave our bills for the next 18 years, right?
That's how this whole parenthood thing should work, in my opinion.
"This Is Why Netflix Is A Thing"
Technology is the best.
"Thank You 'The Office' For Always Being There For Me"
Everyone has that go-to show that makes them feel like they're in a room filled with a group of their closest, most trusted and hilarious friends. Mine is The Office, and if it wasn't for the staff at Dunder Mifflin, Scranton, I wouldn't have made it through a difficult pregnancy and those first few months (read: years) of parenthood.
"OMG The Baby Is Crying"
Nope. Worst fear realized. Please stop crying. OMG please stop crying right away I will do anything please just stop.
"This Is Why My Boobs Are A Thing"
"Thank You, Boobs, For Always Being There For Me"
One again (but for a very different reason than any previous situation I've encountered) my boobs have saved my life. Thank you, breasts, for always being there for me when I really and truly needed you.
"I Wonder If Beyoncé Felt This Way When She Was Alone With Blue Ivy For The First Time..."
I mean, Beyoncé is a human being, right?
"Of Course She Didn't. She's Beyoncé."
Yeah, Beyonce isn't a human being. I'm pretty damn positive she's some sentient being sent to Earth to grace us with her presence. Sigh.
"I'm Not Equipped To Handle This Tiny Human"
No, but really. I mean, yes, I have my swiss army boobs and they're pretty helpful, but I feel like I'm missing some sort of "mom gene" that helps me stay cool, calm and collected when faced with terrifying situations (like taking care of my baby by myself).
"I Wonder If My Kid Knows I'm Scared"
Babies are pretty intuitive, so I have a feeling I'm not fooling this kid anymore. He also just gave me the stank eye (which means he's either onto me, or he's pooping. Again.).
"I Wonder If My Kid Is Scared"
If he knows that I'm terrified, I have a feeling I am terrifying my child, too. I mean, this pacing back and forth doesn't necessarily scream, "Don't worry, I'm totally capable of taking care of you," or anything.
If I was my baby, it's not like I'd feel 100 percent confident in my abilities right now.
I might as well just admit it, right?
"Do Labor And Delivery Nurses Make House Calls?"
I should just call the hospital and see if they'd lend me that nice nurse, Tammy, for a few hours (read: days). You know, just until I feel completely confident that I can do this whole mom thing by myself.
"What If I Just Went Back To The Hospital And Stayed A Few More Nights?"
I would clean up after myself and I wouldn't eat as many of the swirl ice cream cups I ate when I was there postpartum, I promise.
"This Is Why, 'It Takes A Village To Raise A Child' Is A Saying"
Like, why is "staying at home by yourself with your baby" even a thing? Shouldn't I be living in a commune with a bunch of other mothers, so I don't have to do this thing by myself?
"I Can't Believe I'm A Mom"
This is real, now. My baby is here and I'm the only person taking care of him and there's no going back. I'm a mom now. Wow.
"I Can't Believe My Baby Is Finally Here"
Not too long ago I felt like I was going to be pregnant for the rest of my life. I literally didn't think this day would ever come and now it's here. He's actually here, outside of my body and in my arms and I'm responsible for keeping him happy and healthy and safe. Double wow.
"Can My Baby Just Go Back Inside My Stomach? He Was So Much Safer In There."
At least when my kid was in my body I knew he was safe and I could protect him because, you know, my uterus is a badass. Now he's out in the world and the world is big and scary and my uterus can't surround him with safety fluids anymore. Ugh.
"I Miss Being Pregnant"
No, but seriously.
"I'm So Glad I'm Not Pregnant Anymore"
No, but seriously.
I've been so busy staring at my kid and silently panicking, that I forgot to actually feed myself. #Priorities.
Well, I'm always tired, but something about the build up to this solo-mom moment has made today particularly exhausting. I need a nap.
"Is My Baby Hungry And Tired?"
Well hell, who gives a sh*t if I'm tired or hungry now that I have a baby, right?
"Thank The Parenting Gods All This Baby Does Is Sleep"
Honestly, how is this going to work when my kid is a toddler and running around, throwing things and yelling things and getting into things that could be potentially dangerous, subsequently giving me heart palpitations? I can't even think about that right now.
"OMG He Just Moved"
Eek. The kid moved. OMG he just moved and it was this tiny little movement but the most amazing moment I have ever seen. He can actually move his limbs OMG my kid is amazing and a genius and I need to call someone to tell them that my baby moved.
"OMG He Just Smiled"
I'm dead. I'm dead and I'm dying and I'm dead.
"Where's My Phone, Again?"
This is why iPhones are a thing. They weren't made to communicate with other people. They were created to take pictures of your smiling, newborn baby.
"OMG He Just Made A Weird Sound. Is That Normal?"
Hold up, they didn't say anything about that particular sound in the baby book. This isn't normal. Nope. Something is going on I am sure of it.
"I"ll Just Use Google"
This is why the internet is a thing.
"I'm Never Using Google Again"
I hate that the internet is a thing.
"I'll Just Call The Pediatrician"
Oh yeah, I almost forgot there are professionals who specialize in babies and children who are probably better equipped to give me an answer that won't completely terrify me.
"Thank The Parenting Gods For Our Pediatrician"
I'm so glad this profession is a thing.
"Our Pediatrician Definitely Hates Me"
Well, of course nothing is wrong — he just had some gas — but it's now painfully obvious that my pediatrician doesn't appreciate me calling her ten times a day. Whoops.
"Wow, This Kid Sure Does Poop A Lot"
It would be unbelievably impressive if it wasn't also kind of gross (and very smelly).
"I Need To Poop, But I'm Afraid To Even Put The Baby Down"
OMG how am I going to go to the bathroom without putting my baby down? I must have skipped over that particular chapter in every single one of my baby books, too.
Actually, I'm starting to think those baby books are pretty damn useless.
"This Is The Great Life Paradox My Philosophy Teacher Warned Me About"
I can either put the baby down and avoid soiling myself, but leave my baby open to one of a dozen dangers (that can't come to mind at the moment but I'm sure exist because my baby won't be in my arms so this is a thing, I swear).
Or, I could hold onto my baby and potentially ruin my favorite pair of postpartum underwear. Decisions. Decisions.
"Why Don't They Have 'How To Be Alone With A Baby 101' Classes In College?"
I have never, ever, used the crap I learned in Econ 101 or Advanced Trigonometry. Not freakin' once. What a waste of money.
"I Have A Feeling I Would Have Failed That Class"
At least I passed those useless classes, though. I have a feeling if there was a "Mom Class" I would have failed out within the first week.
"Does My Baby Love Me?"
I sure hope so.
"Does My Baby Even Like Me?"
I'll settle for "like" at this point, because I'm not necessarily sold on the idea of me as a mom, either.
"Am I A Good Mom?"
I have a feeling I'll be asking myself this question for years to come, and I'm sure the answer will vary. I sure did feel like a good mom yesterday, when I fed my baby and changed my baby and made dinner and managed to make my baby smile. Today is a pretty overwhelming so it doesn't feel like I'm really winning at this whole thing.
"I Really Hope I'm A Good Mom"
However, I know I am trying, and I would like to think trying as hard as I am automatically makes me a pretty good mom.
"This Motherhood Thing Sure Is Lonely"
For not having any "alone time," I sure do feel alone.
"Why Do All My Friends Have Jobs?"
Honestly, can't we all just go back to college when we went to classes a few times a week and then hung out and did nothing but get in trouble and date wildly inappropriate people and then comfort one another when those wildly inappropriate people broke our hearts? Why do my friends have to be so adult with their jobs and their responsibilities and stuff?
"Why Does Anyone Have A Job When You Can Just Stare At A Perfect Baby All Day Long?"
Someone should pay me to stare at this perfect baby all day. Talk about a #DreamJob.
"I Can't Wait To Go Back To Work"
I am going to hug every single one of my coworkers and I'll actually pay attention and listen to them when they tell me about their boring weekends and I will never miss a work deadline ever again.
I just want to (read: need to) interact with human beings that don't poop their own pants every hour, on the hour.
"I Have No Idea How I'm Going To Go Back To Work"
There's no way I am going to be able to leave this baby, though. Like, can't I just take the baby to work with me? Right now he'd make one hell of a paper weight.
"I Would Do Horrible Things To Be Able To Afford A Nanny..."
Like, unspeakable things. Just to have someone who does this for an actual job would make me feel a bit better about my current situation.
"...And A Personal Chef..."
That's the dream.
"...And Someone To Clean My House..."
That's the dream's dream.
"...Basically, I'd Do Horrible Things If It Meant I Could Be Beyoncé"
At this point, I'm sure this is everyone's dream, but now that I'm a mother I really would just like to live her life. She gets to do what she loves to do and she has people help her with her beautiful daughter and she gets to spend time with her daughter while she does her job and bring her baby on stags around the world and man, that's the dream's dream's dream. The ultimate dream.
The Beyoncé dream.
"I Bet My Kid And Blue Ivy Would Be Best Friends"
"I Need To Get Some Sleep"
"How Long Has It Been Since My Partner Left, Anyway?"
OK, it's starting to feel like days have passed. Hold on, what? It's only been two hours? Yeah, I'm screwed.
"I Can't Believe I'm Someone's Mom"
This really is so surreal. I mean, I don't feel like a mom. I don't really think I've changed in a significant, substantial way. Sure, my body has gone through some modifications and I see danger lurking behind every corner now and I love someone so much it physically pains me, but I'm still me. This is so strange.
"I Can't Believe This Beautiful Baby Is My Baby"
How in the hell did I get this lucky?
"I Can't Believe I'm Standing Upright After Not Sleeping Since Forever"
This must be some science-defying stuff right here. Someone alert Bill Nye.
"I Miss Taking A Shower"
I could go for a quick five minute shower and feel like an entirely new woman, but that seems pretty impossible at the moment.
"What Did Moms Do Before Yoga Pants Were A Thing?"
Actually, I don't even want to know. (Unless it involved wearing no pants at all, in which case I'm listening.)
"I Owe Everyone Who Made My Family A Frozen Meal My Next Child"
My friends are the best friends in the entire world and this frozen casserole is saving my life right now and if I ever have another child, I will gladly give him or her to my friends for saving my life with this casserole. #FriendshipGoals
"There's No Way I Could Love Another Baby The Way I Love This Baby"
It's just impossible. I know that it happens because, well, plenty of parents have more than one child. But right now, in his moment and while I hold this perfect little baby boy in my arms, the idea of loving anyone as much as I love him is just mind-blowing.
"How Do Moms With Multiple Children Do It?"
If Beyoncé isn't an actual human being, moms with more than one child aren't human beings either.
"How Do Other Moms Do It?"
I'm feeling a little lost so any and all help from the closest #MomTribe would be greatly appreciated.
"Am I Handling This First Solo-Mom Session As Well As Other Moms?"
I have a feeling the answer is a resounding, "No," but you can never know for sure. Are there any other hot mess moms out there that are as terrified as I am? Please stand up so I can find you and be your best friend.
"I Need To Make Some Damn Mom Friends"
And like, yesterday.
"I'm Afraid To Make Mom Friends"
Then again, putting yourself out there when you're a mom is scary. People judge and people criticize and I like my friend group exactly the way it is now. I don't want to lose the friends I have just because they're not moms and I am. Why do things have to change?
"I Can't Wait To Watch My Baby Grow Up And Make Friends"
He's going to experience so many amazing things and meet so many wonderful people and I just can't wait to see who and what my child becomes, and the extraordinary things he does with his life. I can look at him and see endless potential and it's just, you know the best.
"I Wish My Baby Could Stay A Baby Forever"
No, but really. Please never, ever, grow up. Stay little so I can always hold you and protect you. OK, good talk.
"Whoever Said 'Sleep When The Baby Sleeps' Is A Moron"
It's impossible and it's not a helpful suggestion and just, no. I will be happy if I never have to hear that stupid saying ever again.
"I Owe My Mom A Million Apologies"
I really am so sorry I was ever a pain in the ass and I just can't believe my mother did this not one, but twice. Mom, you're incredible and I'm so sorry I made motherhood hard for you when I did (because god knows I did).
"I Wonder How Long It Takes To Upload 100 Pictures Of A Sleeping Baby To Facebook..."
An hour? Ten minutes? Help me out here, Zuckerberg.
"How Many Picture Of A Sleeping Baby Is Too Many Pictures Of A Sleeping Baby?"
Clearly this is a trick question.
What Did Parents Even Do Before Social Media?"
I can't even being to imagine what pre-social media parenting looked like, although I do imagine a life without the comment section was pretty nice.
"I'm So Grateful I Have People To Help Me Raise This Baby"
Whether it's my partner or my mom or my friends or my neighbor, I'm so glad I have help. There's no way I would be able to do this completely and totally alone.
"Where Are The People That Are Suppose To Help Me Raise This Baby?"
Alright, I've given you all your silent (and much-deserved) praise. Now get your collective asses over here so I don't have to do this by myself anymore.
"Motherhood Is Terrifying"
I've bungee jumped off a 250 foot bridge and I dated a New York Jets fan and I ate a scorpion, and I can still say that nothing is as terrifying as motherhood. Absolutely nothing.
"This Really Is The Best Job In The World"
I'm so glad I'm a mom.
"This Kid Could Ruin Me In A Thousand Ways, Because I Swear I've Never Loved Anyone As Much As I Love Him"
Looking at this tiny little baby in my arms, I'm acutely aware of just how much pain this little baby can cause me. When he hurts, I am going to ache. When he's sad, I'm going to be devastated. When he tells me he hates me, I'm going to think I'm the worst mother in the entire world.
He's my heart, living outside of my body, and my god I can't believe a love like this exists and I'm currently (and forever) experiencing it.
"Being This Vulnerable Is Scary"
And I thought dating was bad.
"I Wouldn't Trade This For The Entire World"
There is no place I would rather be, than right here — by myself — with this precious baby in my arms.
"Hey Little One. I Love You."
I wish there was another set of words I could use to describe how much I love you, but there isn't. Language is failing me, so you'll never truly know.
"I'm More Capable And Powerful Than I Give Myself Credit For"
I'm a mom. I'm strong and brave and determined and selfless and powerful. Not only can I create and birth humans, I can take care of humans. This is scary. Hell, this is terrifying. But I can do this.
I can take care of this extraordinary baby because, well, I'm a mom now. I got this.