The first weeks with a newborn can be a sleep-deprived, blurry mess. "The worst month of my life," as my friend Karen called it. But I absolutely relish every second with a newborn. I've just come out of my third baby-moon with bitter-sweet nostalgia because it will probably be my last. My family feels complete now. Unlike before, I don't sense, "There's another one coming". Three is the perfect number. It means we don't (really) need a bigger car, nor are we forced to move house.
However, here's why I'd have fifteen babies:
1. Falling in unconditional love
They say birth is the only blind date where you're bound to meet the love of your life. No matter how ugly or rumpled your baby is you think you've given birth to a Pampers model. Your off-spring is the centre of your world. And rightly so. That little cluster of cells which grew inside your body is now miraculously a living, breathing babe. Everything about a newborn is scrumptious: The scent of her head, tummy, even her poo - especially if you're breastfeeding - smells good. Not to mention the cheesy fluff between her toes or the waxy gung behind her ears. This is pure, unconditional love. The real deal of fairytales and epic movies.
2. You get to stay in bed
Post partum recovery is the best excuse to stay in your pyjamas. For days. Why get dressed when you can be served tea in bed and then spend the day nursing, kissing newborn, watching newborn sleep, reading, sleeping, cooing at newborn? There's no schedule, no time-keeping, no appointments to rush to. You can doze off when you want and focus on regaining strength and bonding. Just you and mini-me in an endless continuum of love drenched bliss. It's perfect; unless of course you have a high-maintenance husband, other children or a mother-in-law from hell. If this is the case the best you can do is run away to an island with your newborn until the quarantine has passed.
3. No pretending to have a headache
Let's face it: A woman who's been through childbirth is not thinking - remotely - about sex. All activities in the nether regions are best avoided and any over-sexed male must find other methods of light relief. Case closed.
4. Get treated like a princess
In principle you should be. My health advisor told me to act like one, not lift a finger in the house and have my husband do everything. In the olde days before Twitter and in other cultures women get help, big time after they've given birth. In many Asian countries new mums go and live with their families - still today - to be looked after. They are massaged with special oils and given strengthening herbs by the community. And in right-on, modern day Holland it's common for friends to come round, cook and do your housework, so you can be with the baby. This beats dragging your dishevelled self to the door to welcome in 'uninvited guests' whom you make your remaining, emergency coffee and serve your secret stash of biscuits while they rub their overbearing perfume all over the baby's cheeks and give you unnecessary presents (How about a facial voucher folks?). Happy to see the back of them, you're left with more dirty dishes and a hyper-stimulated baby. I only put up with this in round one. By baby two visits were 'by appointment only' and by the third my house entrance rules were 'bring an edible dish or pick up a broom'. You're the boss and you just had a baby - for crying out loud.
5. Dressing up baby fun
Eating, sleeping and explosive pooing are basically all that's goin' down right now for junior. This means ample laundry and vigorous scrubbing of yellow stains, unless you want a Les Miserables look. It also signifies a lot of changing clothes. Luckily baby outfits are super cute and you get the chance to relive your childhood dolly fantasies by dressing up baby. All those years of practise put to good use.
6. Brain Fog is fine
It is completely legit to stare into space and think f**k all. You don't need to do, say or think anything constructive or remotely intellectual. If you're nursing, even more of an excuse to forget what you were about to say mid-sentence. It's like a kind of dunce's nirvana. No one expects you to come up with anything clever.
7. It's short, sweet and intense
The best things never last which gives them even more poignancy. Babies grow really quickly. Each moment has to be savoured. The cocooning skin-to-skin, the froggy legs, the tiny toes, newborn yawns and those shiny eyes blinking the first glimpses of the world. Soft, velvety baby skin, the adorable moro relex and wrapping them up all snug in beautiful, organic swaddles and bamboo blankets (those baby products available these days). Did I mention I'd have fifteen babies just to be able to go on another baby-moon?