So, I held a newborn.

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of a hand holding a single blue hydrangea bloom on "So, I held a newborn" on Not So Mommy..., a childless & infertility blog
WOBBLE WARNING:  I think the title says it all.  We’re talking about my most recent visit to the maternity ward…

So, I held a newborn.

There are different reactions to this statement.

For those outside the infertility and childless / childfree communities, these words often evoke the ooey-gooey, oh-how-sweet and wonderful and lovely and absolutely precious…  (I say that last word with Ross’s inflection.  You “Friends” fans know what I mean!)

For those within the infertility and childless not by choice communities, however, a very different physical reaction occurs.  Heart pounding so loud that we can hear it in our ears, tears threatening to fall, palms sweating, shaking, fight-or-flight at maximum height…  I mean, you fabulous ones, might be thinking, “You held a newborn, Brandi?!  WTF?!”  So, let me explain…

We can go to the hospital at 2…

A colleague of my hubby’s had a baby.  Friday evening, as we were headed to dinner, Dane casually says, “So, we can go to the hospital tomorrow at 2 to meet the baby.”  And my anxiety went to a 1,000% immediately.  I tried to have a normal convo with my husband.  But I couldn’t.  Finally, I blurted, “I really do NOT want to go to the hospital, Dane!”  He told me that I didn’t have to, but he felt like he needed to.  Okay.  Whatever.  Let’s eat.

Dinner for 2 with 8…

We went to hibachi and were seated with a couple who had two kids, there with a friend who also had a kid.  Two of the three kiddos were little monsters.  And I don’t say that lightly.  The mom was so beyond stressed and embarrassed at their behavior that it was kind-of uncomfortable for everybody.  Dane and I still managed to enjoy our meal, talking a lot about our upcoming kidless vacay in October.

I’m over it.

On the way home, I told Dane, “You know what?!  I’m over it!  The adorable little baby grows up into the bratty kid who won’t eat their chicken because it looks weird.  I’ll go to the hospital with you tomorrow.  But I do NOT want to hold the baby.”

Okay.  Awesome.  We’ve got a plan.  Going to eat crepes on Saturday morning and then head to the hospital that afternoon.  Woohoo.  (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

At the hospital at 2…

So, we get to the hospital and all checked in.  Which took forever because they are so picky about the baby floor.  I was getting annoyed.  But once we got to the room and I saw that little bundle.  Oh my gosh.  Dane held her.  Seeing that tiny head cradled in his big ol’ hand…  It was beautiful.  Honestly, seeing Dane holding the baby was tugging at my heart…

So, I held a newborn.

So, I said, “Okay.  My turn.”  And I held that one-day-old newborn.  Her miniscule fingers and fingernails were the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.  I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  She was phenomenal.

And gave her back to her mama…

After about 20 minutes, I handed that gorgeous little back to her mama who had the hugest grin on her face.  That tugged at my heart.  We said good-bye and headed back downstairs.  Once in the truck, I told Dane that I was so glad I went and so glad I held the baby and that it didn’t stir any maternal longings.  And he said, “I think we are beyond that, babe.”

Beyond Childless…

First of all, WE are beyond that.  It reminded me that my hubby struggled through infertility and accepting childlessness just as much as I did.  Second of all, BEYOND that.  What an absolutely poetic way to explain where we are on our journey…  BEYOND Childless.  I’ve said that I’ve embraced infertility, I’ve redefined momhood, I’ve accepted being childless, and this year, I’ve been redefining childlessMy journey won’t lead me to identifying as “childfree.”  That word just doesn’t describe me and my everyday circumstances.  But beyond childless…  Yes.  I am moving beyond identifying solely as a childless not by choice woman.  Beyond the heartache.  Beyond the longing.  Beyond the wishing and hoping.  I’m even moving beyond accepting and embracing and redefining.  I’m living in the “this is our best life and we love it” phase.  And it is absolutely remarkable!

I never thought I’d be able to hold a newborn without a wobble.  It gives me hope, realizing that if (not when, if) my nieces and nephews have littles, I’ll be able to enjoy the moments…

I hope this gives you hope, too, fabulous one.  Especially if you are still in the pit of despair, grieving hard, wobbling often…  I was there once.  But now…  I held a newborn.

*Not So Mommy… turns 5 this Thursday, 11 August.  Usually, I write a blogiversary post around this time.  But I was inspired by my visit to the maternity ward.  So, that’s what I wrote about.

If anything I wrote resonates with you fabulous one, tell us about it in the comments…

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Holding a newborn didn’t cause me to wobble, but cleaning my coffee table did.  Last week, I wrote about weird wobbles.  You can read more about that by clicking the image below…

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A May 14, 2023 - 1:12 pm

I have not held a baby since the little boy we watched be born and cared for was taken away from us several days after his birth when his biological mother changed her mind and picked a different family and we were forced to leave him, the hospital, and fly the five hours home without the baby boy we had named, held, sang to, diaper changed, and fallen in love with. The closest I’ve come to being near an infant is to sit in the hospital room with my neighbor while she was having contractions a few months ago, and I considered that huge progress. I think about the act of holding a newborn and can only imagine the big feelings that will well up. Yet ironically, my biggest feelings of loss surround the 7 year old girl we wanted to adopt, who called me mommy, who is somewhere in my state, calling someone else mommy now on Mother’s Day. It’s one thing to envision what it would have been like with my own biological child, completely different to be around babies and young children who remind you that the one(s) you planned to adopt are still out there…with someone else.

Brandi Lytle May 15, 2023 - 2:42 pm

A, thank you so much for trusting me & this community enough to bravely share your truth, your heart. I have tears in my eyes as I read your story. My heart breaks for the two losses you have endured. I am so, so sorry that you must live with this grief. Sending you so many gentle hugs…

Ferah December 27, 2022 - 10:38 pm

Absolutely beautiful. You have a really big heart, you know? And a lot of wisdom, to describe yourself as “childless” instead of “childfree.” Your word for it is open, kind, accepting, while the other seems maybe to be still trying to work through things.

I just discovered your website, and I’m so deeply thankful for your perspective.

Brandi Lytle December 30, 2022 - 1:15 pm

Thank you for your kind words. I’m grateful my perspective on “childless” resonated with you… HUGS

Bailey October 20, 2022 - 12:03 pm

I just discovered your page. This is the first post I decided to read because I knew it was be, well, challenging. I loved how you created a positive spin and you are now “beyond childlessness”. I love this.

Brandi Lytle October 25, 2022 - 11:55 am

Bailey, I’m so grateful that you bravely read what you knew would be a “challenging” post. I’m also honored that you “love” the “positive spin” and “beyond childlessness” that I wrote about. Despite the circumstances that brought you here, I’m so glad you are part of this fabulous community. HUGS, fellow warrior. So Many HUGS…

Ashley DeBriae August 29, 2022 - 1:56 pm

Thank you so much for this post and your blog. I am so adopting that phrase “Beyond Childless” ! Love it! This year marks 7 years into our infertility journey and being able to travel, get tattoos, and hike into the wilderness with my closest girlfriends has really shifted my perspective on my/our life’s desires. I completely limited my exposure to infertility forums, mommy blogs and shifted from what I don’t have to what I do have…which is liberation! I get to live a life lots of women in all of history only dreamed about. And I will not take it for granted. Here’s to being ~Beyond Childless~
IG @that.rainforest.chick

Brandi Lytle September 2, 2022 - 12:48 pm

I’m so grateful “Beyond Childless” resonates so deeply with you! I just checked out your IG and smiled when I saw “Beyond Childless” written in your profile. THANK YOU for bravely sharing your truth and beautifully showing that a childless life CAN be happy and fulfilled! HUGS, fellow warrior!

Mali August 9, 2022 - 10:03 pm

Congrats! I think the thing that surprises us all is that when we finally do the “dreaded thing” (in this case, holding the newborn) it isn’t as bad as we anticipated. Or it’s not even bad at all! The thing I realised was that THIS baby was not the baby I had wanted. He/she wasn’t my baby. And so it made other babies/children easier to be around. This is such a reminder to us all that we heal and grow. Brava.

Brandi Lytle August 12, 2022 - 11:23 am

Thank you, Mali. I always love your insight. I love your perspective that “THIS baby was not the baby I had wanted.” I so appreciate your support and the time you take to comment. HUGS…

Sherry August 8, 2022 - 6:22 pm

Just. Wow. Talk about BEYOND!!! You are the strongest woman I know.❤💚💜

Brandi Lytle August 12, 2022 - 11:20 am

Thank you! That means more than I can express in words…


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