A mystery, I am insufficiently prepared.
I am awed and afraid, overcome by love and fear.
I bring her home and there she is.
When she cries, I cry.
I wonder: how will I be a mommy to this baby?
I read everything I can and try to meet every expectation.
I follow all the baby rules (which later turn out to have been wrong).
I over-sterilize, overthink, overcompensate for my weakenesses.
I wash and scrub and make organic homemade babyfood.
I try my hardest. I feel alone and inept.
I try not to inflict any permanent damage.
Just when I think I get it, that I’ll be able to do it with ease-
A preemie, born early, struggling to breathe.
I know nothing – again. Her needs are a mystery.
She is so tiny it scares me.
When she cries, I cry and when I cry,
her sister cries.
I don’t know what I am doing,
but we have to find our way.
I dress her in doll clothes and learn
to mommy two.
We are getting our groove
when she arrives quietly and easily.
Somehow she gently becomes a part
of our busy lives and we’re learning
to diaper with one hand while stopping
a fall with the other.
Life is frilly dresses and french braids,
a full-sized family.
If you can handle three little-bitties, you can handle anything.
I am getting my sea legs, my mommy-groove.
The boy arrives.
My deep and secret longing fulfilled.
The boy turns our sweet pink world
Everything is different with a
baby boy: changing diapers, potty-training,
you name it.
How will I mommy a son?
Whew! I am worn out.
The fifth and final is on her way.
The pregnancy goes well. No surprises.
I have been here before.
The labor and delivery are picture-book perfect.
The nurse comes in with a checklist of things
I must demonstrate to her to prove I can care for her
before they will let me take my baby home, things like
nursing her, bathing her, changing her diaper.
I have no strength to posture, but I ask the nurse,
“How many children have you had?”
She signs off on the checklist.
I am learning everyday. I am becoming
an expert in the care and feeding of babies.
How will I mommy these perfect five?
One adult. Two. Three adults. Four. Five perfect adults and the ones they have married.
And again, I have no idea what I am doing. I feel alone, afraid. When they cry, I cry. I wonder: how will I mommy these adult children?