I volunteer in the NICU of my local hospital. When I went in to wash my hands before my shift there was an MD in there also washing up. She was facing the sink and didn’t look up as I came in. I removed my volunteer coat and placed it on the shelf leaving only my white undershirt. The doc then turns around and we exchange greetings. She then asks how my baby is doing. A little shocked I just stutter, “Oh… I… I’m a volun–”
“–Ah you’re a volunteer,” she said as if trying to finish my sentence, “My bad, you never know these days, parents are getting younger and younger…”
“Haha…yep…have a good day,” I say as she begins to walk out and she reciprocates.
At first this just got me thinking about life and about when I do hope to have kids of my own. Then I thought about what she said… younger and younger… what’s this lady talkin’ ’bout younger and younger. When she was little most adults were probably having kids in their early 20s… but maybe she thought I was in high school.
Anyways, when I’m holding the babies at the hospital it’s hard not to think about being a father. By no means am I in any rush at all, it’s just near impossible not to think about it with a tiny baby in your arms just staring at you.
It was also kind of awkward later that day because I was helping out a nurse by holding a baby during feeding and the baby’s parents came. They knew I was a volunteer, but I could feel the mom’s gaze tear into me as soon as she walked in. I am not allowed to move the baby myself and the nurse was in the medicine room getting some milk, so I just sat there with the mom watching as her daughter was sleeping the in the arms of a stranger. I wasn’t sure if I should wait for the nurse and risk getting my arms torn off or offer to hand the baby over. Luckily Mom had enough just decided to take her, and so I gladly handed her off. Mom didn’t acknowledge me, not so much as a thank you, as if I was some sort of android who holds crying babies then goes back to its dock in the supply closet. Of course, she has every right to her baby and to be protective of her, but lady I’m a flippin’ volunteer its not like your baby is going to imprint on me. But you know,