New baby, new… jealousy?
I’m not a jealous person. I’ve never cared if, in the past, someone I was seeing talked to other women, or even if my husband remained friendly with his exes. My logic always is: If the person I’m with wanted to be with someone else, they would be. So why waste the energy worrying? Now while this may make my brain sound all cool and unflappable-like, it has done a bit of a 180 lately.
After having my baby (who is eight weeks old today)—where does the time go?—I seem to have developed a bit of a jealous streak. To be fair, I still don’t care if my husband hangs with his ex-girlfriends; they are delightful women. But I’ve found myself itchy and uncomfortable on several occasions when someone other than said husband or a couple of select people has asked to hold my baby. There are even days when I don’t feel like handing her over to her own father.
What’s even more messed up is the weird sense of deep satisfaction I feel when she only wants to be with Mommy and no one else can calm her down. It’s like the best possible validation I could ever have—that this tiny, wonderful little soul who I find myself completely in love with, only wants me.
Now before anyone yanks out their Helicopter Parenting handbook and starts to wag a finger at me, I should mention that in theory I have no issue with most of my friends and relations holding my baby. In theory, I do still subscribe to the idea that she shouldn’t only want to be with me all the time, that she should be well socialized and be able to play well with others. I want this if for no other reason but so that I can have a nap once in a while, and eventually go back to work. For the record, I also believe she should be able to run around barefoot in grass, chase bugs and play hockey in the street without my needing to hover over her, but that’s a post for another day. Today I’m just wondering what, if anything, I should be doing about this weird, green monster that seems to hammer a hole in my chest with semi-regularity.
I’m trying to talk myself out of giving into these emotions as much as possible. I have a ton of friends who are great with kids. My family members adore her and wouldn’t hurt her in the least. But none of that silly logic stuff makes any sense when, with every fibre of my being, I want to yank her back from whomever is holding her and never let her go. “I’m the one that sits up with her at four a.m.,” I want to yell, “Back off, get your own baby!” It’s not like I know what I’m doing or anything, I just don’t want anyone else doing it.
I’ve heard that becoming a mother for the first time messes with your brain. I know I’m not the only one who shoots out of bed at random hours of the night to check if their baby’s still breathing. I’m probably also not the only one who has felt like a total failure as a human being at times when their baby cries, can’t poo, has trouble breastfeeding or bonks herself in the face while flapping her hands about. Hell, the first time she cried—and I mean really cried—I was shaking so hard that my poor husband had to hold me down so I wouldn’t fall over. Worst 90 seconds of my life. Of course I say that now, but she hasn’t been sick or had her inoculations yet, so I have that to look forward to.
What I don’t know is whether this is a normal reaction to, in reality, nothing. Nothing prompts these bursts of jealousy and possessiveness. It’s not like she’s a little baby lothario, chatting up a curvy blonde behind the bleachers. She behaves just the same, and still likes me best (Ha! Take that, everyone else). I want to be the chilled out mom and hand her over to trusted friends and family without getting my proverbial boxers in a bunch. I just don’t know how.
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