The first year is demanding.
Hormones. Sleep deprivation. Uncharted shift from how things were.
Labour intensive and hands-on.
There's crying, crying, crying. From both of you. And because it’s all in your hands, you watch every minute, to prevent. Choking, falling, hungering, rashing.
There's mastitis, no time for showers; bickering, tight waists, and swollen breasts. Frumpy dumpy days.
And those days you believe you're doing it all wrong because nothing is on schedule. Not the smiling, not the rolling over, not the crawling, teething, walking or talking. And guilt about food, TV and how-to-play. Comparing. Isolation.
Nobody could have told you the truth of it. They offer their experience, you read what to expect. But always, your baby is the exception.
And yet it’s seamless too.
The incessant kissing and hugging. Pet names. Possession. The final brush strokes on your family portrait, a complete knowing of what you will do from now on. Unwavering affection. An aim and true purpose. Every moment counts but if you don’t stray too far you can begin again.
You look at this seedling and remember that even last spring he was not here. And now he is almost walking, almost sleeping through the night, almost one. You revel in this. The fruits of your labour.