In the Mirror

by: Ashley Roman

Every night when I am awoken by little hunger cries I roll out of bed, grab my sweater and head down the nightlight-lit hall to the nursery. I look down at the little boy wincing in his bassinet, pick him up, and gently kiss him on his forehead. In complete silence, with exception of his white noise machine, I change his diaper, re-swaddle, head to the rocking chair, and begin to nurse him back to comfort. We sit by the glow of Christmas lights. Just the two of us.

We're still getting to know each other.

He recognizes the sound of my voice and the smell of my skin. He just started turning his head towards me when I speak.

I am learning the meaning of his different cries. The hunger cries, the painful cries, the cries of boredom, and the desire for comfort.

When we first brought him home I didn't know if I could do it. I couldn't soothe him every time he fussed. I wasn't sure if he was hungry, uncomfortable, scared. My body hurt from the c-section and the drop in hormone levels left me with a floodgate of tears and nervousness.My husband and Iheard phantom cries every time we went into a different room and sometimes took turns outside with the dog just to get a break from the crying.

During our first week together in the middle of the night I was rocking my son for what seemed like hours. He wasn't crying but wasn't sleeping either. I was so tired; my lower back was aching from holding him in the same position, afraid that if I moved him he would never fall asleep. Then I caught a glimpse of our silhouette in the bedroom mirror. I could see the outline of my messy hair and bad posture. In my arms I was holding a baby. My baby. My child.

This is me, this is my identity now. Mother. It's my duty and purpose to be awake in the early hours of the morning rocking our son;could this be real? My reflection confirms my thoughts.

Every night I pass the mirror and see myself with a baby in my arms. Sometimes I just stop and stare... is that really me? Is this really us? It's like I want to seal the memory in my mind. It's a sacred moment, my son and me together in the dark.

Every day we learn a little more and life gets a little easier. Nothing is perfect but everything we are experiencing is perfectly human. I am thankful.