Everyone knows that you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know how to take care of a baby. It does generally fall under the common sense category of your brain. But perhaps all this infertility has made me a little insecure about my care taking ability - like since I am missing the fertile gene, maybe I am missing the baby care gene. So I signed up for an infant care class to boost some confidence.
My husband couldn't make it to class so I invited another intended mother to come along for the ride. Safety always in numbers. Who wants to be in a class full of huge pregnant women and not only be alone, but on top of that, not even pregnant. I could only imagine the guessing games in people's minds when looking at me - "Maybe she is training to be a nanny?" "Maybe she is adopting?" "Maybe she is a single women going to use donor sperm?" "Maybe she is in the wrong class?"
It felt much more fun to have another intended mother with me to up the ante. "Maybe they are lesbians adopting?" But once the class began and we all got our dolls, the jig was up. We had to ask for another baby doll for my friend, explaining we are both expecting and our husbands couldn't make it. "Oh!" I heard whispered under breaths. No one asked further about why neither of us are pregnant. We'll assume they don't care, or they settled on the adoption conclusion.
The nurse then slid in a DVD which began talking about post mother care. Obviously this was a snooze-fest for me. I don't need to know what oozes out of you after a baby is born. That's not something I will ever experience. So my mind wandered, waiting for more relevant information to present itself on the TV screen.
I focused on my doll. He/She is suppose to be newborn size so I was taken aback by the size. The doll seemed quite large, or at least larger than I thought. I stared at her for a while. I moved her arms and legs. I started playing with her rubbery toes and fingers. I looked into the doll's slightly creepy eyes. I stuck the thumb in the mouth. I held her in my arms. All in all, my doll and I bonded.
It then started to get fun. It started to feel not so scary. I covered her with a towel. I sponged bathed her eyes, face, chest, legs, arms. I changed the diaper and put a fresh one on. I put the onsie on correctly and then added the stretchie PJs. I picked her up and cradled her. I burped her. There wasn't much hesitation in doing any of these tasks. Granted this is not a live baby crying, squirming, or pooping. But there was something a little hard-wired about what I was physically doing to this doll.
I was never a kid who played with dolls all that much. My thing was stuffed animals. I never saw myself as a woman who from day one dreamed of being a mom. I believed I was a late bloomer on this front, not wanting this until in my 30s. But in this short period of time with the baby doll, I remembered moments as a child pretending to be a mom. I can remember a plastic baby bottle that had fake milk in it that bubbled when turned toward the mouth. I remember even dressing my teddy bear in baby clothes. There was indeed an early piece of me that had this desire. Like every little girl, I was told that this would be part of my future.