A few days ago, I was on the phone with a friend who’d just had a baby. As we were chatting, her newborn son started fussing in the background—and the sound stole my breath away.
Because even though I heard that newborn cry in my own home from my own babies once upon a time, I’d forgotten what it sounds like.
I swore I’d always remember, of course. Made a point, even, to drink in those sounds and smells and still-of-the-night moments with my youngest.
But somehow, I’ve forgotten.
And oh, does it carve out a bittersweet ache in this mama heart of mine.
Because I miss everything about having a newborn baby, so very much.
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I miss the mewling little sounds my babies made when they were helpless and brand new.
I miss how they looked like tiny burritos when we swaddled them in flannel hospital receiving blankets.
I miss the sweet smell of their milk-drunk breath after they’d finished nursing.
I miss giving lukewarm baths in the sink with tiny washcloths and Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo.
I miss brushing downy soft hair with those standard-issue clear rubbery newborn brushes that were the absolute best on delicate newborn skin.
I miss snapping itsy-bitsy bright white onesies and covering tiny toes with socks that never quite stayed put.
I miss patting little round bottoms in baby carriers and subconsciously always swaying as I puttered around the house.
I miss marveling at tiny cherry-red lips folded impossibly in as they slept, and those first fleeting “is it gas or isn’t it” smiles.
I miss the way my husband looked with our babies cradled in his strong, capable arms.
I miss the feeling of a newborn baby on my chest.
I think I always will.
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Because even though I love seeing who my kids are growing up to be—and it’s true there is beauty in every stage of motherhood—part of me will always long for the babies they once were . . . the babies they didn’t stay nearly long enough.