The morning after another 24-hour call shift at labor and delivery, I went for my routine rounding of families who delivered during my shift. Some days, patients all blur together and I am also a blur. Especially when I just feel inadequate and exhausted. But this one morning, the father offered his newborn son to my arms. “Hold him. You helped bring him out to life. You should get to see what you work so hard for.”
I received him in surprise. Instinctively, I didn’t feel ready. I didn’t feel deserving. Afterall, we are trained to interact through the role of a clinician, and we are reminded daily (even hourly) of how short we fall in our knowledge and skills. There is typically no time to just hold babies for the sake of holding babies.
But cradling his newborn boy, I was completely absorbed into this tiny human bundled up in my arms. He had soft downy black hair, pale pink skin and plenty of oily white milia on his nose. He blinked his puffy eyes twice and settled in my embrace. He was purely beautiful and ever so alive. And then and there, my stresses dissipated. My sleepless nights became okay. The days feeling defeated and heartbroken became okay. For there was a precious gift of life sprouting anew in my embrace.
So hey, why not just cradle babies sometimes. It’s the beauty in what we do..
(Photo by Sujin Im)