Okay, your new child is two days old. You’ve been camped in your bedroom for the past 36 hours, wrapped up in all things baby. But you’ve run out of bread and milk and coffee and so it’s time to go to the grocery store.
So you leave your partner with the child, throw on some sweats, and head to the store. You wander the aisles, checking off your list, humming along, and in your head you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow. It’s so nice to be doing something normal again.”
But in your heart all you want to do is race down to checkstand 3 and grab the microphone from the cashier and yell, “WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE ACTING SO NORMAL? CAN’T YOU SEE — I JUST HAD A BABY!”
You could swear it’s obvious, like there’s a big asterisk stamped right on your forehead. All your normal routine little things — things you used to do automatically, reflexively, suddenly have this grandiose context wrapped around them. It’s no longer “getting coffee”; now it’s “getting coffee/just had a baby”. “Paying the bills/just had a baby”.
Of course, nobody can see this asterisk — but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. And don’t worry, eventually it goes away. Well, actually, it doesn’t: instead that asterisk becomes the new normal, and you wonder how you ever managed to pay the bills without it there to keep you company.