Soon after giving birth, people will visit you and your delicious new baby. They’ll swoop in and cuddle your baby, sniff her head and coo at her cuteness...
And when they visit, most of them will say the same thing. They’ll tell you to enjoy this time, or to treasure it, or to make the most of it, because: “It all goes so fast”.
But the truth is, when you’ve just had a baby, time actually slows down. In fact, it loses all relevance. Is it morning? Afternoon? Evening? That stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much as, ‘Is it time to feed? How long till the next feed?’
It’s like there’s time measured by the sky outside (morning, evening, night), and there’s time measured by people with a baby. For people with a baby, the sky has no relevance. Your baby couldn’t give two stuffed nappies whether the sun is shining or not. She still needs to feed every two (or three, or four) hours, regardless of what’s going on out there.
The people who come and visit and say wise things like, ‘It all goes fast,’ are those who use the sky as a barometer for time. They get to wake up in the morning, do stuff in the day, then sleep at night. Meanwhile, you get to see a whole spectrum of time that they’ve likely forgotten about.
Also, when you have just had a baby, you are so utterly grounded in the now. An hour goes slow. A day goes for a century. A week goes forever. And people are trying to tell you that it all goes fast? Huh, you think to yourself, What do they know?
But here’s the crazy thing. While you’re living this never-ending baby life, that weird sky time thing outside will keep on moving. Before you know it, that baby of yours – who fit so perfectly into the nook of your arm, and whose body was still all curled up like she was in the womb – will soon start to uncurl and stretch out.
One day you’ll put her down on her mat and she’ll smile at you. And it won’t be wind, or an incidental movement, it will be a real, genuine smile. And that smile will soon become laughter.
And that baby will start rolling, and then rocking on all fours, and then crawling, and then standing. Soon you’ll be holding her up in front of her first birthday cake.
While everyone around you breaks into a chorus of ‘Happy birthday’ you’ll stand there completely awash with feelings – the pride and amazement that your baby has turned one, along with the fascination as to how a year has already passed (and, simultaneously, the wonder at how it’s only been a year).
After that, time will start piling up on itself even faster. Eventually, you’ll leave behind your baby-clock and move to the sky one, where time is measured again in mornings, evenings and nights.
Then one day you’ll get a phone call from a friend to tell you she’s had a baby. You’ll visit your friend and you’ll cuddle her newborn baby and sniff her head and coo at her cuteness. Then you’ll look at your own ‘baby’ (who is clearly not a baby anymore) and you’ll feel all the feels. So much so, that you’ll probably say something.
You’ll say it because you believe it so deeply in your bones (despite never thinking you possibly could).
You’ll say it because it’s one of the truest things you’ve ever felt. (So true, in fact, that it hurts.)
You’ll say it even though you know that, right now, your friend might not agree.
You’ll say it with the utmost best intentions, because you’ve been there, and you’ve had this precious time, and you honestly can’t believe that it’s passed.
“Enjoy this time,” you’ll say. “Because, really, it all goes so fast”.