Becoming a Parent

Posted on: May 8th, 2005 6:58 AM GMT

Topic: life

One of the things that has been interesting about having a baby is watching all these latent emotional systems spring into action. Or "begin to unfold" might be a better term. To be honest I haven't been bowled over by any waves of emotion yet, except maybe during the actual moment of birth. It's too much to have to feel all at once. But I've noticed a few new feelings hanging around my brain that weren't there before. Like bringing up the Windows task manager and seeing a new process. 'What is this?', I ask the help window. 'Why, it's parenthood, stupid', comes the response. Slightly unfamiliar. Not overwhelming, just there. I didn't even know I had that program, but there it is. I wonder what it will do?

I think I can see this happening in Amber too. I can see her stepping out into unfamiliar emotional territory and realizing that something unexpected is there waiting to help her along. The God-given maternal instinct begins to take effect. She's still uncertain, but not hapless. It's interesting to see how these new aspects of her personality will unfold, and I'll enjoy that probably as much as watching the baby grow.

I think for both of us these new parental feelings will take time to develop. Big things in life don't flash into existence, they start small and build like a freight train gaining momentum.

Anyway, it's all so unfamiliar that I don't think I could describe the feelings very well. Sort of an unexpected notion that yes, in fact, I am supposed to be doing this. Or a kind of weird satisfaction that kicks in when I pick up the baby.

I speculated to Amber the other day that having pets incompletely fulfils the human desire for children. Well, very incompletely, but so far the pets are actually ahead. Both are stinky, both are cute. But the dogs return affection. When baby starts returning affection then I think there will be a tie. When baby starts talking then the dogs will finally retire to the comfort of pet-dom. At this point the baby will win and the distinction will be complete.

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