A Baby’s Diary
Illustrated by ALEXANDRA CARR
After hours of intense reflection and careful consideration, I’ve concluded: a human body is born out of a human body. Actually, this has been pretty obvious, ever since I experienced this fact first hand a few hours ago. And let me tell you, just thinking about this fact, about having left my tender and pleasant water-world to become part of this new world full of strangers, is terrifying.
It was a journey I did not ask for. I hadn’t been complaining about my habitat getting smaller and more uncomfortable day after day, hour after hour. I could have kept floating in there another three months. But suddenly my whole body was being squeezed, and foreigners––doctors and nurses, they are called, apparently (don’t ask me how I know this)––pulled me out by my head and shoulders. Ow! I cried and shouted, begging them to let me to stay in my world (or at least not to be so rough), but they did not understand my demands, did not even try to understand them. I guess they are not yet attuned to my language, which, at the moment, as you can imagine, remains somewhat limited.
I have nothing personal against this world nor against doctors. I’m not one to judge people or places without having a fully knowledge and understanding of them, which, as of yet, I don’t. I’m just scared. It is not easy for anybody to admit openly to being afraid. Are you laughing at me? Well, let me ask you something. Aren't you terrified of leaving the world you know, of death? (I think that’s the word for it.) I’ve heard that some say there is a new world for humans after their lives on earth, but who knows what it might be like. So you see, my phobia is justified.
Ah! Now nostalgia brings tears to my eyes and sends them streaming down my cheeks. Home! Sweet Home! Back then, I was living in paradise. A whole world designed for my sake. I just had to snap my fingers (to be honest, I haven’t actually mastered that trick yet), and "Voila!" delicious nutrients were coming from the placenta through the umbilical cord (big words, I know) to me. In other words, the placenta was my kitchen and the umbilical cord was my spoon and my fork. The amniotic sac was my address, my home, my palace and my universe.
It is funny how selfish humans can be! I did not even think of thanking my mother for carrying me in her body all that time. After all, her inside was my outside for nine months. I lived in her for a long time, I absorbed what I needed, like oxygen, from her blood, gave her my carbon dioxide to get rid of, and didn’t think once how hard it must have been for her. It was always about me. Me being happy, me being comfortable and me being healthy. I was always her first priority in her life. I could feel her patting or rubbing my back, talking to me. This woman, her soul, her body brought me into life, and I now owe her the happiness that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.
Believe me, though, being newborn has its disadvantages and is not an easy way of starting a life. Communication, as I mentioned, is a major problem. There is no approach and no procedure that I can find to express my words. Once I open my mouth, I start crying like, of course, a baby. (I hate this comparison. I feel insulted every time I hear it.) Nevertheless, recently, about an hour ago, I decided to live a life based on thankfulness and forgiveness. Therefore, I want to thank my mother for her hospitality and apologize for all the pain she had to endure during childbirth, even though she did it willingly.
Guess what, though! Instead of saying all these warm words to my mother, I’m crying! Crying! Whoa! Now they are now feeding me an unknown substance, I guess thinking I might be hungry. Life is not easy and I, at this moment, realize it (although her body is soft and smells good, and this liquid I’m drinking is pretty tasty.)
Apparently, my body is a concern for everybody: the nurses, the doctors and my family. After my first shower, where tears and cries are my companions, an old woman manipulates me as if I am a mysterious object that needs to be identified. She weighs my body and measures my height, and according to all the smiles drawn on the faces of my entourage, I suppose that I am normal.
When I think about the future, my future, I get nervous. These measurements taken by the old lady are far from being stable. Eventually, this body will gain in weight and height. Then I will have to work hard in order to satisfy my appetite.
While planning my future silently in my head, a strange idea has made its way to my mind. It is probably going to be hard to adapt to this new world. You might not understood how I feel, if you weren’t born with a highly-developed brain (as I was earlier this morning), if your brain, like your body, developed only little by little as you grew up, if you don’t remember your life in the womb or what it was like to leave it, as I do. Think about a situation where a highly intelligent immigrant arrives in a different country after having spent a lifetime in her home country. She would be perplexed and unable to live without difficulty because she would have to face the language, the culture and the people who are all viewed to her as strangers. She would need time and patience to thrive in her new life.
I suppose it would be easier to be a blank slate, discovering and learning about everything with no pre-conceived ideas. But maybe everyone comes into the world with their own ideas. And maybe everyone remembers, somewhere inside, what it was like to be born.
In any case, I am now bewildered by all these new forms and this amazing variety of colours. If it was not for my developed intelligence, I might not be so confused, over-thinking every second of my life out in this new world, as I have been doing all day since I arrived. I would have been introduced slowly to the new concept of life by my parents. Maybe I’ll try to relax and let them guide me a little anyway. I guess these are the reasons why infants do not have fully developed brains––for their own sanity. In order for them to live their lives, they need to learn by degrees about their new environment. Maybe that is why people say that children acquire knowledge faster than adults do. They don’t have as much knowledge already formed and getting in the way.