What That New Mom Sitting Across From You At Lunch Was Probably Thinking

Oh, this is nice. I’m outside.



Yes, I’m outside, with my friend, like a real lady and I am going to have some lunch. A lunch date! Oh, I’m on a lunch date with my friend like I’m a real, live, normal person. This is fantastic.

She’s been talking. My friend is definitely talking right there. I should probably pay attention.

Man, it’s pretty outside. I forgot how nice life is when you’re around it. Look at all these people, just having lunch. Enjoying their day. People all look so pretty and happy and nice. These people all look so nice.

I hope the baby is napping.

Can she see my breast pads through this shirt? I hope I look okay. I am almost positive I remembered to put on deodorant before I left. I could check the app to see if the baby is still asleep, but —

NO. I will NOT check the app! This is MY TIME and there’s nothing I can do if the baby is awake anyway, because I’m way over here, enjoying my lunch with my friend like everybody else gets to do and I should do because I’m still a person.

Oh, it’s clearly my time to talk. Say words now. Say words in an order that makes sense.

I… um… do did you we… weh…

I don’t want to just talk about the baby, but it’s obviously where the questions are headed. Maybe talk about work. Try talking about work. Man, it’s late. What is it, like, noon? I have been up for seven hours already. I am going to order a glass of wine because it’s quitting time, amiright? Happy hour.

Yes, I will have a glass of wine. Like a lady.

… Did I ever say anything when it was my turn to talk? I should make sure to laugh right now, just in case my friend said something funny. Damn, she just asked why I’m laughing.

Say something about the menu. Good. That almost made sense.

Why do I hear my baby crying? Do you hear my baby crying? Can everybody? Is this a real cry, like my baby has somehow teleported here and is already attached to my boob, or is this like when I hear the baby’s screams even when I’m in the shower or blow-drying my hair? Because the phantom PTSD screams fool me every damn time.

You should probably laugh again. This time add a, “Right?”

Good. Good job. We’re fooling ’em all.

Okay, that’s a real baby cry I’m hearing, because there’s a baby behind me with a cry that is weirdly close to mine. I mean my baby’s. That baby sounds like my baby. I thought that wasn’t scientifically possible. I recognized my baby’s cry three floors away in a parking lot. I knew it in the hospital wing six hours after the baby was born. How can this tiny thing behind me impersonate my baby so well?

Maybe I need to feed that baby. I might as well, since all this crying has triggered my let down and–


Am I leaking everywhere? DON’T LOOK. But what if I am? What if everybody can see it and everybody knows and I’m not just a normal lady like everybody else? I’m a ladycow who walks around with–

Can somebody feed that crying baby? And where is my glass of wine?

What if my baby isn’t napping, but is crying right now and that’s why I’m trying to feed a baby? Can my baby control me from miles away? My stomach hurts. Did the baby do that?

The food is here. Time to eat. I can eat like a normal person, at a normal rate. I will not have to abandon this plate mid-bite. I get to just sit here and eat it, like a normal person. Do not cry over this. DO NOT CRY OVER THIS. This is a good thing, just enjoy it. Why can’t I enjoy this nice day, this nice meal, this nice friend?

Focus on the weather, on the conversation. It’s okay. This is all great. You got this. You are outside, and that is progress, lady.

That wine and that food are making me sleepy because I have been up for a whole day already and it is not even today yet. Heh. That’s funny. I have a lot of funny thoughts.

Shit. I think my friend just asked me a question. Shoulder shrug?

Okay, I’m just going to check the app on the baby really quickly so that I know the baby is asleep and then I can finish this lady lunch date and — oh, the check is here. Oh, no. It’s over. Aw, man.

That was over way too quickly. I had so much fun, we should do this again every week. I should tell my friend that. Perhaps I will e-mail it, because I’m about to pass out.

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  1. meredithea

    This was my life. This was almost exactly my life! (Lord, the phantom cries. They woke me up at night when the baby (and later, babies when I had twins) were sleeping! I had a similar experience when I had a receptionist job where I answered 15 phone lines and dreamed of ringing phones all the time.

  2. Katherine

    Those phantom cries are a bitch! Even now, with mine 4 & 2, I still have to stick my head out of the shower and even occasionally turn the water off to make sure I’m not hearing any crying.

    I’m glad you got to have a glass of wine! (you did, right?)

  3. Kerri

    It gets better. Personally I’d take a crying baby over a 13 year old’s eye roll. Enjoy that baby! You deserve more wine.

  4. Melissa

    Not long ago I was at a store when to my surprise my mom walked through the doors. So, I surprise blurted, “MOM!” She didn’t even flinch. It was at that point I realized she no longer hears my cries. :)

  5. Katie

    “Do not cry over this. DO NOT CRY OVER THIS.”

    Hah. This reminds me so much of last spring/summer. Particularly the time I was driving to the grocery store for a little “me time” when I started leaking all over the place. I had to talk myself down from a cry and from turning the car around and going back home. Instead I pulled my hair down over my wet shirt and went on with my grocery run.

    You’re so funny.

  6. Valerie

    This exact thing happened to me at work once. I leaked all over my shirt because there was a baby crying. I was ringing up a customer on the cash register at the time. The customer kindly told me that I had “sprung a leak”.



  7. Rachel

    Yep, this. The Wee One is now 6.5 and sometimes my boobs still do that weird “we’re about to become FOUNTAINS YAAAAAAAAY” feeling when I hear babies crying.

    And I still don’t know if I’m making sense to people when I talk. Not because I can only talk about the kid, but because I’m pretty sure I had a c-section/lobotomy combo. It’s the only explanation.

  8. Cy

    So…your friend seems nice!

  9. Heidi

    I don’t know if it will horrify or comfort you, but this made me think back to the pilot of Thirtysomething and the scene where Hope was trying to have lunch with Ellen and the baby started crying in the resturant. I was 16 when that first aired and now I’m 42, so it resonates differently.

    P.S. — How is the showrunner workshop?

  10. meadowgirl

    aww! i hope Qwerty smells as delicious as ever. xx

  11. Cheryll

    30 years later and I still remember doing the “press hard on your nips” to stop the let-down feeling and subsequent leakage. And at the same time, that “Dairy Queen” role was one of the best times in my life.

  12. Rachel

    Pamie, you got it down.
    This made me happy. First baby (now 3) screamed and screamed and screamed and I could hear it everywhere I went. He rarely slept. My inner monologue was a lot of, how I am still alive when I haven’t slept more than 12 hours in the last week? How is that even possible?
    My second is 3 months. Don’t want to jinx it but this brother ain’t like the other. Like I just joined a Crossfit gym and I still find my husband charming and attractive. And we haven’t had takeout AT ALL since #2 arrived. Pinch me.