Babies are such a mystery. The only way to know life is working out for them is if they’re not crying, and even then, it's pretty difficult to be completely sure. Seeing as how most newborns pitch a fit immediately upon delivery, it really got me wondering: what are babies thinking during labor?
If I had to guess, I think babies would be throwing mad shade at the situation. What, from their point of view, could possibly be enjoyable about the process of getting slowly vacuumed out of a cozy nest where you pretty much did whatever you wanted (like eat, sleep and make obscene gestures at the sonogram technician) for nine or more months? I know I’d adopt a real attitude towards the grown-ups who thought it would be a good idea to flush me from my happy place.
As I consider what newborns are thinking at the moment of their birth, I keep hearing their thoughts in the voice of Cartman, from South Park. If you're a fan or even casual observer of the show, you have to admit: the voice fits. Sure, babies may appear sweet and innocent, but once they open their mouths all hell is unleashed, so it’s all too easy for me to believe that when pre-verbal babies cry, they’re just trying to say: “Respect my authority!”
So, get yourselves in character and imagine the following things your baby could be (and probably is) thinking during labor and delivery.
Whatever it is that the doula, doctor, midwife or expecting mom thinks should happen, the baby typically has other plans. It’s just the first of many situations you can count on when your kid tries to bend the world to his or her will.
“You Do The Hokey-Pokey And You Turn Yourself Around”
Just when you think your baby is head-down and all is well, they literally flip the script. That’s what happened to me and it took getting down on all fours and wiggling my butt for a while, to turn my daughter right side up before she was born.
“Late Check-Out Requested, Please”
I ran past my due date for both my kids. They just didn’t want to come out. At 10 days past due, I wanted to just reach in there and pull out my daughter, myself.
“You’re Evicting Me?”
Because I was so late, I was induced, and I swear my daughter, eight years later, still hasn’t forgiven me for forcing her out. I have blamed every one of her tantrums on my induction.
“But It’s So Warm!”
It must be quite shocking to exit a toasty uterus the kid’s been baking in, only to be thrust out into the vast, cold world. I guess that’s why so many newborn products capitalize on their ability to recreate the environment of the womb.
“Yo, What’s With The Squeezing?”
We’ll never know what it feels like for the baby as it’s pushed out, but I can imagine it must be pretty weird and uncomfortable.
“Are You My Mother?”
Unless you have given birth without anyone helping (in which case, I humbly bow down to your goddess-like power), there are quite a few faces around when a baby emerges. With my second kid, I think I counted seven humans in the room, other than me. My face was not the first face my son saw (or squinted at, through his tears). That face belonged to the doctor catching him, but I was a close second and, hey, I'll take it.
“Seriously, You Picked This for My Entrance Music?”
“Please, No Pictures!”
At least not until the gunk is wiped off. Everyone loves a “fresh from the womb” post. But some folks are squeamish, so maybe at least crop out the protective bodily fluids clinging to the kid before putting that picture up on your feed?
Poor kid hasn’t had anything to eat (orally) for over nine months! Are babies hungry when they’re born? We’ll never know, although I'm assuming so because most want to find a boob pretty quickly after they've made their grand entrance. Plus, sticking a boob in a newborn's mouth does tend to calm them down.
“Don’t Put That Stupid Hat On Me”
We put it on to keep them warm, but sometimes (okay, most of the time) it’s to camouflage the surprising cone head situation. have to agree with the baby on this one, though: the hat is pretty stupid-looking.
“Yes, Please Go Right Ahead And Project All The Feels From Your Delivery Onto My Blank Stare, But Know That I Am Probably A Little Drunk On Real Life Right Now, And Have No Control Over My Facial Muscles Yet, So Excuse Me If I Don’t Smile Back”
I remember holding my babies for the first time and being convinced they knew what I was thinking: that I couldn’t love anyone more than I loved them. They looked back at me, as if to say: “It’s cool. I guess I’ll stay.” Seriously, newborns are so nonchalant. So, I chose to believe their expressionless face was just their way of showing they were more than comfortable with the situation. I’ll never know what they were experiencing in our first moments together, but there is nothing I’d change about them either.