Look

There’s a moment after your baby enters this world where you’re both still connected to one another even as the separation has begun. Your baby, this little person who has spent the last nine months inside of you growing from the smallest no-see-em cells to an entirely new human being, has been born! Your baby is finally here and you’re about to meet face to face for the first time.

The best place for baby after birth is on the birthing person’s chest. And they should stay there for a really good, long time. But in that moment right before your baby comes to you, close your eyes and give thanks to your amazing body for all of the wonderful work that it’s done to grow your baby.

Take a good long breath – deep inhale, and deeper exhale – to release any and all tension that built up as you pushed your baby into this world. If you’ve had a Cesarean birth, maybe take a couple of deep, slow breaths for yourself. (The anxiety around surgical birth is very real and knowing that both you and your baby have made it through delivery okay is a moment to hold onto for just a few seconds.) No matter how your baby has been born, your body has done an amazing job of growing and bringing your baby into this world. Acknowledge your hard work and give thanks for that body of yours.

Then, just as you’re about to receive your baby, look. Really look at your baby before you bring them up to your chest.

Look at their little squinched up eyes that are just beginning to open, look at their little flattened nose, look at their little rosebud lips. Take in all of their features that are such a great combination of the two of you and entirely unique at the same time. Look at their impossibly tiny hands and marvel that their even tinier fingernails are already in need of a trim. Look with your hands and fingers as you gently massage them into being with you here, now.

Look over their entire body not just with your eyes but with your heart wide open at the miracle that you’ve co-created.

There will be a lot of buzz in the room at the moment your baby is born. Emotions will be flowing through all the people who are there to witness it. Some births are quiet and reverent when the baby emerges, others are loud and raucous. There is no “right” way to welcome your baby into this world, but take a few moments to look before you leap into parenting.

There is a bubble that surrounds you in these precious moments following birth. No one else needs to be inside this bubble but you and your baby. It is sacred time.

Often new parents will say something about the eyes of their baby. The phrase, “The eyes are the windows to the soul” is never more true than when you first look at your newborn baby. They have so much to share with you.

Lock eyes with them and you’ll be connected, soul to soul.

So take the time – as much time as you need – to look at your baby from the top of their head to the tips of their toes. Put the camera and the phone down. Don’t worry about trying to capture this moment forever digitally. Capture this moment forever in your heart.

Just look.

Do you remember when you first really looked at your baby? What emotions did it stir up for you?

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