new mom

Behold, I Am a New Parent

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NEW MOM explores the brilliant, terrible, wonderful, confusing realities of first-time motherhood. It’s for anybody who wants to be a new mom, is a new mom, was a new mom, or wants really good reasons to never be a new mom.

Feel free to gaze upon me and my awe-inspiring powers of reproduction as if they are precious and unusual. No, no — no need to thank me, I’m simply ensuring the continuity of the human race. Come to think of it, you should thank me. You’re welcome.

The world has opened up to me in a way it will not open up to you, my childless friend. I’m feeling emotions you’ve never even heard of and therefore have no access to. No, trust me, you have not felt these emotions. No you haven’t. Stop saying that. They are rare and only for me.

It’s as if all music were written, performed, painstakingly recorded, and rocketed up only the coolest of charts solely for my benefit. I’m suddenly able to detect sublime flavors, feel previously secret textures, and discern colors I never knew existed until now. Oh, you think you’ve seen that particular blue before, do you now? [narrows eyes, looks off to the horizon, whispers] I don’t think you have. I don’t … think you have.

Maybe someday you’ll be in touch with all of these spectacular things I just mentioned. You know, when you become a new parent. For now, it’s just the regular world for you.

Before you say anything, here’s a three-ring binder full of articles I’ve compiled for you. Every single one is a list of things you should never say to me, a new parent. I now control language. Here, take it. I said take it. No, I insist.

Have you noticed when you look into my infant’s eyes it’s like staring directly into the face of God? No? Hmmm. That’s unexpected. Try looking at this photo. Or this one. Hey, how about this one. Look at the light in this one — magic hour! Or this one and this one and awwww that one and this one and this other one right here, look at this one and this one and this one and this other one and here are five that are imperceptibly different from one another but I can see the differences. In fact, I find the variations downright glaring. Then again, my senses are heightened, my visual acuity second to none, and my current rate of inflated self-importance frankly unsustainable.

I now see both danger and beauty everywhere and can’t help but gently weep to myself as I wear my baby more than is required or even recommended. The questions and answers of the cosmos are being transmitted directly to both my brain stem and viscera, you know, because of the whole new parent thing.

Why were cars invented? They are quite dangerous and without exception are all aiming for my baby. Why is there so much hate in the world? No one will ever hate my baby, for it is simply not possible. Don’t you understand I am raising the most pure human child ever to grace the Earth? Well, how could you? You’re just … you. Alone, not even reproducing or seeing special colors at all. No you can’t. There is no way you can see that shade of blue. Just stop it.

Look, this should go without saying but you bet I’ll go ahead and say it — my baby sleeps straight through the night and, while sleeping, dreams of how to make the world a more just place through consent, equal pay, and hugs. Because I just know it, that’s how. When you’re a parent maybe you’ll be able to read minds with a 100 percent level of accuracy too.

Oh, how old is he? Exactly one week today.

Anything else you’re curious about? I know everything.

Kimberly Harrington is the author of Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words.

Behold, I Am a New Parent