It’s feeling like baby season all around me–two friends are expecting, I’m inexplicably looking back at my baby pictures whenever my laptop is open, and regardless of where I am, I see an adorable baby giving me that big-eyed, spell-casting look. You know the look. The one that stops you in your tracks, makes your heart immediately melt into “awes” and takes you to the place of “what if.” As in, what if you had another baby?
It’s like a one-two punch: baby smiles innocently your way, you unexpectedly stumble into a captivating moment of euphoria, and you fall into a trance of wonder. It doesn’t matter where you are or what’s going on, once the little one casts a spell, you are done. You could easily be in line, say at a Starbucks, and someone with a baby gets in line a few people behind you. You are oblivious and glance behind you, which is your only mistake. The baby was prepared, seizes the moment, and takes you to the land of “what if.” This is a classic case of baby fever.
If you’ve never experienced it, baby fever recalls every positive feeling you’ve ever had about having a baby to the forefront of your mind while making you forget the many tough, sleep-deprived, frustrating, and overwhelming moments. Some of the things you think about include:
- The immense love felt and the wonderful instincts that kicked in: Remember when your baby really needed you because they didn’t feel well or they were hungry or whatever it was and only you knew what to do? Your husband didn’t know, your friend that was visiting didn’t know, nobody knew what baby wanted or what to do, but you knew and handled it. That bond between mom (dad or primary care provider) and baby is mystical. It’s as if when the baby is born he/she hones in on mom and cries, “if you listen to me, you will know what to do and it’s going to be empowering, love-filled, and will connect us for life in unimaginable ways.”
- Holding your baby for hours on end just to bring them comfort? I remember not being able to hold my niece and nephew for more than 15 minutes without my muscles starting to shake and feeling as if my arms were going to drop off. But with my own babies, I could hold them for 15 hours if needed and I wouldn’t ever feel any pain or dare think they were too heavy. Instead I would crave the warmth from their little bodies and hold them longer.
- When your baby hit major milestones like saying your name, dancing, giggling, and telling you, “I love you mommy.” Need I explain this one? I mean, come on!
- When you didn’t mind only getting 5 hours of sleep because your baby was colicky or had an ear infection or just wanted to cuddle with you? Okay, so maybe you minded a little bit, especially because not feeling well also usually meant the baby would sleep with you while you lay uncomfortably awake in a position that would never let you get a good nights sleep. But you didn’t move. Instead you kiss your little one, thank God they’re okay, pull them closer, and sleep with your eyes open until it’s safe to move them.
You remember all the precious moments, the emotional, spiritual, and physical connection that is all wrapped in profound love. It. Is. Magical.
But my friends, there is hope. If you’re like me and know you’re not having more children and want to spare yourself from having the fever, follow one of these three strategies:
- Have a 30-second dance party. I’m a firm believer that quick dance parties cure all things. They can be done just about any place and the good news is it might cause a mild scene. Ideally, the parent will take the baby away because they will want to get away from the crazy lady dancing randomly in Starbucks, or wherever.
- Find someone, anyone, and strike up a conversation. The election is pretty topical and possibly confrontational, especially when you’re chatting with a stranger. The more controversial the topic, the better. Your conversation could turn off bystanders, which again, is a good thing. Just be careful that the person you pick isn’t with the person that has the baby that you’re trying to ignore. If that happens, stop talking ASAP and implement the 30-second dance party strategy immediately. If nobody is around, you have two choices: 1) start talking to yourself or 2) immediately phone a friend — someone you can’t ignore like your boss or an in-law (someone you can’t blow off and have to give your undivided attention).
- Just give in and start crying. Perhaps it’s just that type of day–you know you won’t be able to fight it, so you should be super proactive and just start crying. This should also sufficiently scare the baby’s parents from heading your way.
If these three strategies don’t work I can’t help you. You might just be a lost cause and need to consider the alternative–maybe you’re supposed to have another baby (gasp)!