Warning: Please be advised that there might be some information in this article that may offend some people, scare others, comfort some moms. This certainly does not contain any correct medical information whatsoever.
What I’m about to tell you is strictly my experience—I’ve learned that’s all I can go off right now. Holden Benjamin Fein is 4 months today and I still have absolutely no clue what I’m doing.
It was exactly eight days after Holden was born and my brain was straight mush. I was frantically reading over the checklist from the mohel and feeling somewhat prepared: Neosporin? Check! Pillow? Check! A&D Ointment? Check!
Family members began to arrive. My heart started to race and I could feel the sweat start to gather in all the rolls that were ever so present from just giving birth to a 9 pound boy. I was STRESSED.
I hadn’t fully comprehended what was actually going to happen that morning, I think I blocked it out on purpose. The bagels and lox were arranged and the mohel breezed into our home only to immediately rattle off that every single thing I had prepared was wrong.
Oh, we need the Neosporin cream not the ointment, Vaseline not A&D, the pillow needs to be standard size, etc. I remember mouthing to my sister, “Help me I can’t do this.” Luckily my mother-in-law came fully prepared with three different tubes of Neosporin and one of them happened to be the correct cream. I scrambled to gather the rest.
I will say the actual ceremony was beautiful. I cried, both my father and father-in-law held Holden over a pillow as the mohel rattled off words that reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice (Wah wa wa wah), as I anxiously waited for the “cut” to take place.
Suddenly everyone turned to me and that was my cue to leave the room where I went into the laundry room and turned on the fan at full volume to block the sound. The next thing I remember is my husband saying, “It’s over, he did great, we can take him upstairs and you can feed him.”
As the mohel was leaving he went to take one more look to make sure all was well. I hear something to the tune of “This never happens…” —not a very reassuring thing for a new mom to hear from the man who just circumcised her FIRST BORN BABY BOY).
Apparently there was a little bleeding that hadn’t stopped and he didn’t feel comfortable leaving yet. He poured on some powder that they use in the war basically to stop a wound from bleeding. Between the powder and the blood I took one look at my husband and told him we are going to the ER.
He knew my mind was set, so we all piled into the car: my husband and my brother-in-law (a pediatrician to boot) with the mohel following close behind us. After my child pooped three times on the changing table – that alone was almost worth the trip so I didn’t have to clean it up—the doctor informed us he was completely fine and gave us these fancy Neosporin soaked bandages (again worth the trip- they were magical strips). Luckily, everything is fine and beautiful and perfect down there (he is going to murder me when he’s older and can read this). Moral of the story?
Much like motherhood there is no road map or book to tell you exactly what to do or when or how. A lot of people think they know, or will try to tell you how they did it, but you have to go through your own journey to figure it out. And try not to take anything too seriously and laugh along the way when you can.
TANYA FEIN IS A CONTRIBUTING WRITER TO JLLIFE MAGAZINE.