Thursday, January 7, 2010

Okay, I think I can do this...

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.

10 comments:

Sue said...

You'll be a pro in no time.

Kim said...

The class sounded interesting, what a great idea to go! I like that you kept the other participants on their toes, wondering about you and your friend. Too funny! The pics added a nice visual...the head of that doll looked rather large. yikes! Really puts things in perspective.

'Murgdan' said...

I love this post. :-)

luna said...

we practiced diapering on a stuffed puppy. and soon enough, we were doing it in the dark on no sleep whatsoever...

we also took a newborn care class with the midwives. we were 1 of 3 or 4 couples. it was a bit awkward at first, especially since the women were very pregnant. but whatever.

glad you brought a friend.

Peaches said...

Your last paragraph pretty much summed me up--and I too bonded with the little plastic doll that we practiced on in the parenting class--what a relief to know it wasn't just me!!LOL!
You will be an awesome Mom in no time at all, regardless of what is or isn't oozing out of you post-birth

Jaymee said...

sounds like fun!! i love going places and making people wonder. glad, it felt natural to you.

Shinejil said...

Those first few days, I remember (or almost remember, the sleep deprivation pretty much wiped my mind zen-clean) laughing at my awkwardness. How the hell do you get a little hand into these damn sleeves? How do you close a diaper around a squimer?

But before long we could do it in our sleep. Your child doesn't know anything, so as long as your gentle, you'll learn together. It's actually really fun.

That baby doll is a touch creepy...

peesticksandstones said...

Those baby-doll pictures crack me up. I must've gone to a pretty low-budget infant care class because we didn't even get our own dolls to practice on.

I recall also being so nervous about baby care -- had no experience. It's amazing, though, how you and the baby just sort of figure everything out together (and that keeps on going). It's a beautiful thing.

The things I recall most being helpful those early days: the "Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD (I'd be happy to lend you mine), muslin swaddling blankets and those ones velcro-ey kind too, a mountain of burp cloths (could never have enough), tons of snack-y food and anything easy to eat stockpiled, and a mei-tei baby carrier (ours was a Napsack Baby from the Metro Minis store). I think we still ended up at Buy Buy Baby about 300 times regardless.

Anyway, you guys are going to do awesome! I cannot wait to hear more!

FET Accompli said...

I'm a bit late to the party...

I really enjoyed this post. First, I loved that middle picture of the doll - the angle and pose and facial expression. Also, I know what you mean about being a bit of a late bloomer - I was too.

I was also pretty worried about how I'd handle babes - but you are right that it's really not rocket science. (Well, maybe getting them to sleep through the night -- if so, our night nurse is the rocket scientist).

My babies were pretty tiny when they were born, relative to the average newborn. Our doctor said that Ava, at 8.2 pounds, is now the average size of a newborn. That's huge to me!!

I'm glad that the infant class gave you confidence. Hubbie and I took an infant CPR class and that helped us with our confidence levels.

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