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Column: A primer on babies

Tanya Ryan 2
Tanya Ryan, Light Side Up

At 31 years old I became pregnant. On purpose. Through the traditional method of combining my husband’s and my own DNA.

When we unearthed the news of our pregnancy, all these women were frantically running around talking about how exciting it was going to be to have a baby. I wonder if that maternal part of my brain didn’t fully develop or something because I did not get the hype.

I care not for babies. Never really have. They are like a less furry, less cute, less entertaining form of a puppy. I would much rather have a puppy. Can I get pregnant and deliver a puppy?

Anyways. I got through pregnancy, I had a baby. And learned that babies are okay if you made them yourself. But I haven’t lost my ability to empathize with my anti-baby brethren. So I thought I’d offer this piece of writing to act in service of you that feel inherently awkward around babies and new parents.

Okay. So. You remember in kindergarten when you brought home that art project? You were so excited to show your mum because it was the most amazing thing that your little six-year-old self had ever accomplished? You showed her, she told you it was so awesome, and you felt like a million bucks. She even gave it a prime location on the fridge, reserved for only the best, most amazing art.

Your new-parent friends are basically kindergarteners. They just made what they think is like, the best thing ever. Like, it deserves two fridges.

And much like those kindergarteners… even if what they made isn’t really that good… don’t tell them that. It’s your job as their friend, family member, or loved one to simply put a smile on your face and tell them they did an awesome job.

The baby itself doesn’t care how much you like it. The baby poops and eats at the same time. The level at which it cares about your perception of it is less than zero. Babies are confident AF. They need no emotional reassurance about how many people like them. It’s admirable really.

So just know that the baby really has nothing to do with it. Keep telling the parents/kindergarteners what a great job they did and how proud you are. And just like six-year-olds, when they are told what they need to hear in that moment, they won’t question the sincerity.

Re: holding the baby. If you don’t want to hold the baby because a) babies are gross b) you think you’ll accidentally kill it or c) you literally have never cared less about something than you do about holding a baby. No problem.

Here’s what you do. You act like you’re really flattered to be entrusted with such a task, but you’re just so nervous you simply can’t. If they insist, do something like sneeze into your hands and then reach out to take the baby. Or develop a sudden cough. First-time parents will be so distracted by trying to find the lysol that they’ll forget they offered.

So in summary. The baby has less to do with the whole act of coming to see the baby - and it’s way more about your friend/family member and giving them a platform to show off their crappy new art homework.