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Nick Ang

The newborn bubble

I have an apartment with a roof and plumbing and this is the bubble I have lived in for the last two weeks since my first child was born. A newborn bubble. I don’t sleep much and I don’t do very much other than feed, carry, coax, assist in burping, changing diapers, launder, cook, wash, eat, and shit. Notably lacking: long walks in parks, Netflix, eating out, and meeting friends.

Am I happy?

When I happen to catch Charlotte smiling in her sleep, hell yeah I’m happy!

When I notice that she’s growing, hell yeah I’m happy!

When she lazily stretches her fours after awakening from sleep, nonchalant as the world continues to chug down the x-axis of time, hell yeah I’m happy!

But when I’m unable to decipher her body language and her cries, and it exacerbates her dissatisfaction, I’m not happy. How can I be when she’s screaming in my ears for the second hour straight?

Neither am I happy when, in the stupor of our fatigue, we spill a bottle of painstakingly pumped breast milk (50ml!) and my wife proceeds to cry in the toilet.

When I do look out the window, I’m also unhappy with not being able to enjoy the final days of summer outside. It’s just going to get colder and darker, and I’m stuck indoors with a newborn. A newborn, in case you didn’t know, doesn’t interact much with you. She’s not capable of much of that yet and won’t be until she’s at least 6 months old when she can sit up and eat some solid foods with you at the dinner table.

But I think “Am I happy?” is an irrelevant question to ask yourself as a parent. Better is the question, “Does this suffering feel worth it?”

To that, my answer is a clear yes, because I’ve never felt this kind of love before. That love (which continues to grow and, hopefully, reciprocates) is worth the suffering the newborn bubble.


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