Years ago, a Baptist friend said that having children made her realize how selfish she was. I thought to myself: how can Christians be selfish with all the good things they do? And why do you need to have a baby to see your own flaws?
Being a humanist, I considered myself pretty unselfish. I wasn’t claiming a religion or to follow a book but I was a good person who cared for others. However, I was watching a lot of television and spending a lot of time scrutinizing myself in mirror. The windows on the outside world and on my body were only reflecting an imperfect reality.
Pregnancy is quite an experience. Very high and low emotions and body changes as you are growing a little person inside you. The baby moves, kicks and is very much alive. The birth is both anticipated and feared. And then it happens, the painful and joyful moment. And soon it’s over and the tiny, vulnerable person is finally in your arms.
Birth is truly the continuation of the nurturing and loving process that started at conception. But now, it’s about feedings, diapers, swaying, hugging, kissing, baths, watching your baby sleep, checking on the breathing and occasionally taking a shower and getting some rest.
Friends and family are asking about the birth, the baby and want to see pictures. Nowadays, it seems to be a minimum requirement for hungry social networks. You might not have time or even the will to satisfy their curiosity. You might just want to cuddle your little one and marvel at how wonderfully her little curled toes were made.
As baby becomes mobile and vocal, making your home safe and interacting with your child come before shopping for that new sundress, finishing the book you started last spring and all the little favors you used to do for yourself. (However, I find that chocolate is the mom’s best friend).
Having my babies was a slap in the face. I realized how arrogant and self-centered I was, and how foolish it was to deny it. As a mother, my focus has evolved from looking at the world and at myself through utilitarian windows to making sure that other people are fed, safe and happy.
And in a bright smile, a dandelion bouquet and a Lego tower, I’d swear I have had a little glimpse of Heaven.