(To empathize: Put a 9lb weight in the crook of your arm and go about doing everything with your one free hand. Be constantly amazed that nothing was designed to be done one-handedly. Gush with admiration for the agility and patience of mothers everywhere.)
Oh, these days are exquisite and fleeting and difficult.
Already the first week of Auden's life seems like a blur, a tiny closed-in world of heightened senses and deepening awe. These days are imprinted indelibly in my memory now: awake, bleary, to hear the birds start singing at 5 in the morning; J playing old Tom Waits records, The Smiths, The Pretenders; stroking baby's impossibly soft skin, marveling at his tiny mouth and his many expressions; the smell of my body mingling with his and reminding me every moment (as if I needed reminding!) what momentous event had taken place by way of it... my body.
My mind is mush without sleep, but my body has taken over and propels me instinctively through moments of doubt and exhaustion and unparalleled joy. New motherhood is not a task for thinking.
And everyone says how quickly this time goes, so I am careful not to take any of it for granted. My senses are saturated with all this Living In The Now. Curiously, my sense of time is completely shot, defying linear expectations. It's more like a heavy sphere moving in an elliptical orbit around me -- speeding up, rushing past; slowing in a wide arc; now lingering, hovering on my son's eyelids as they flicker in his sleep. Is it already 4 in the afternoon? Is it too much to know that all of us were privy to such sacred beginnings?
One thing that seasoned parents like to tell parents-to-be is that Everything Will Change. I resented hearing that, especially the hundredth and the five-hundredth time. Yeah, yeah, I thought, everything will change, taking it like a tacky present and pretending to be appreciative. I think what they mean, though, is that You Will Be Changed: you will shed the old you and begin the richly delicate and demanding and painstaking (and sometimes painful) process of becoming a new you.
And indeed I am.