I'm Sorry, But I Can't Look At Pictures Of Your Baby
You just had a baby! Congratulations! I hope you had the birth/adoption experience you wanted. I hope your baby sleeps well. Isn’t it fun to dress them up in cute wittle outfits? It’s even more fun to take pictures of them in cute wittle outfits. Isn’t it fun that they actually make stereotypical baby noises? Like, they really say “Goo.” Total melt. Don’t they smell really, really great until they totally don’t? Are you a sleep deprived mess? I’m so sorry. I probably didn’t make it that far, though. If a friend has a baby, I block them.
You finally hit FayBo and post that oh-so-adorable hospital pic with the words, “We love our Braden/Brayden/Braydan/Bradyn! They were born at precisely at this minute of this hour and weighed approximately what a baby should weigh. Our family couldn’t be happier!” Six hundred people like this photo with hearts and hugs (the hug means “I’m hugging you because you’re sad” not “I’m hugging you,” hence its introduction during the pandemic, so it’s inappropriate in this context, am I the only one who notices these things?!). Another two hundred have commented some version of “Congratulations!” and “They’re so cute!”
I do not comment. I do not offer hearts. I look at your baby. Your baby is squishy and soft and new and everything a baby should be. I stop looking and hit snooze.
I stop because I will fucking cry if I look too long. I don’t want to see any more, so I block you.
I Can’t Have Another Baby
When my youngest was born, I sat in bed, a sleep-deprived mess with leaking boobs and a sweet little bundle in my arms, and cried to my husband. “Please tell me he’s not the last one,” I said. He assured me that this would not, at all, be our last baby. We will have another baby. Please stop crying. The baby is four days old. You are not allowed to want another one yet.
But for a variety of health-related reasons, none of which are very interesting unless you want to compare pregnancy war stories, I can’t have another baby. We always wanted a big family. Part of that was Catholic indoctrination, but most of it was simply that my husband and I like children. We love kids and we love babies. We wanted a loud house. Do you have five kids? I’m the woman that stops you and says you have a beautiful family. I tell you how lucky you are.
I will never have five babies. I had three. That’s all I get.
I don’t want to see your baby. I block you because it only reminds me of what I will never have.
I Block You Because I Know What I’m Missing
Real talk: I threw myself heart and soul into being a baby mom. I dropped my entire life for babies. I quit graduate school. I became a babywearing educator. Do your boobs bother you? I’m not a lactation consultant, but I nursed all my kids for three and a half years each, so I can probably help you. And fuck off if you think that’s too long; I let them stop when they wanted. I carried them all like teensy kangaroos. Their feet didn’t hit the floor on a regular basis for like, at least two years. We co-slept. I never, ever got touched out. You probably don’t believe me, but it’s hashtag truth.
So I know exactly how good your newborn smells. I know how to take care of their cord and how to fold a goddamn flat diaper. Yeah, I was that into it. Prefolds weren’t cool enough for me. I could nurse and type or nurse and eat or nurse and walk down the goddamn street because of the aforementioned babywearing thing. Everyone would tell me, in awed voices, that my babies never cried.
I was a great baby mom. I knew what I was doing. So I block you, because I will never have that surety again. Babies are uncomplicated little beasts, and I was good with them. I will never have that chance again. Blockity block block before I cry. My babies are eleven, nine, and seven. I can still cuddle with my seven-year-old a lot, but then he wants to watch that kids’ Twin Peaks ripoff Gravity Falls (no hate, I just miss ogling Dale Cooper). He wakes up and hugs me, then runs off to LEGOs.
I block you because most of the time, my primary cuddle buddy is a German Shepherd. He’s a very sweet German Shepherd. He makes Wookiee noises and sits with me when I’m sad. He’s always next to me when I block your baby pictures.
I Don’t Care If You Think It’s Selfish
You probably think I’m a bitch. She should be happy with the healthy kids she has. My mom said that, but she’s a total narcissist, so she doesn’t count. And I don’t have to settle. I’m allowed to grieve something I wanted and will never get, so you can fuck right off to sunny California (or the wildfire-y part, I’m not particular). I thought I would have a lot of babies. I won’t. I block you because your pics remind me of the family I always imagined for myself.
I block you because your beaming faces and cutesy pics make me cry.
Most of the time, I’m over it. I’m happy with my three boys, and since they’re over the age of pants-pooping, we can do a lot more things a lot more easily, like camp or hike or drive to Target. Realistically, it’s sort of nice not dealing with the babyness of a baby: they slow your life down, and I like our spontaneity. I like not carrying a diaper bag (I always forgot to put the right shit into mine, anyway). I like that my kids can have conversations, even when they involve the words, “I hate you,” “WHAT?! It’s not time for bed!” and “You can pry my tablet from my cold, dead hands.”
But when I see your baby pics, I am suddenly and viscerally not over it. I don’t want to get gut-punched as I scroll la-di-da-da through my Facebook or Instagram feed. I block you so I don’t break down while I’m trying to find Snoop Dogg’s latest Insta post.
Yes, I know it’s for the best. Our lives are happy. Eventually, when this batch of kids is older, we want to foster and adopt teens. A baby would push that goal further out. And I dearly, passionately believe in teen adoption. My husband and I love babies, but he’s a high school teacher, and I like teens despite all their stompity moods. We’re excited to have more kids one day.
But they won’t be babies, and that’s why I block you. You show me what I’ll never have again. And I’m not over it.
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