Parenting and the Art of Pimple Popping

Will I Be a Good Parent? | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo Credit: The Jadeite Shutter}

I had a lot of feelings in the minutes after my daughter was born.

Concern: Was she okay? (She was.)

Curiosity: “If it’s not too much trouble… can I just see my placenta? What does a placenta even look like?”

Awkwardness: “I apologize, but you’re going to have to reach into my pants.” (That was my husband. It was time for our first picture and, inexperienced at holding a newborn, he asked a nurse to reach into his pocket for his phone.)

What I don’t remember feeling is that sudden rush of mothering instinct I was promised. I loved my baby, of course, and I was prepared and excited to take care of her, but I didn’t feel enlightened in any way. I’m sure I’m not the first person to wonder if I would even be a good parent.

But then it happened—the moment I realized I would do anything for my daughter.

She was five weeks old. I was on maternity leave, alternating between gazing at her and at Netflix (it was the spring of Kimmy Schmidt) and as I looked back at my baby, I realized something was different. Something was…missing.

For weeks, she had suffered from some serious baby acne. Among the constellation of angry red bumps loomed the Mt. Everest of pimples. If we were in a cartoon, this thing would have been pulsing. It was big, and it was here for the long haul.

It tempted us for weeks. We gave it a name. Sometimes we talked to it. (We really weren’t getting much sleep.)

Have you ever tried not to pop a pimple? I’ve had years of experience (see 7th-12th grade), and I can tell you it’s hard. “Don’t touch it,” urged Seventeen and YM to my impressionable young teenaged mind. “It will go away on its own. Also, wear shiny cargo pants. You won’t regret it.”

But I always popped my pimples. “Next time,” I would say. “Next time I won’t touch my face and then I’ll have the clear skin I always dreamed of and Justin Timberlake will pick me out of all the girls in the world.” 

None of that ever happened. The cycle of temptation, regret, exfoliation, and determination continued until my acne eventually faded away into my current skin—skin I wish every day that I had taken better care of.

Then last year, as I held my five-week old daughter and Titus Burgess hit the last note of “Pinot Noir,” I noticed that the volcanic pimple had disappeared.  For the first time in my life, I had left a pimple alone…and the magazines were right all along.

I was never so kind to my own face, but for my daughter? For this tiny, helpless human who needed me? I could do it. I may have been easily impressed with myself —I had barely left the couch in over a month—but right then, I believed I could be a good parent.

We’re expecting a call from Silas Timberlake at any moment.

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