Crazy pregnancy ritual # 456: The all-important “coming home outfit”.
We’ve all done it, with our first and even subsequent babies. What is the first special suit that baby will be wearing when he or she enters the world? Not the hospital world, when baby makes their first public appearance looking like something out of a Zombie Walk, wrapped in rubbery lengths of umbilical cord and sporting a slimy veneer of naked pink flesh mottled with blood and vernix.
What will baby be wearing when we walk through the front door of our home for the first time together as a family?
Who the hell knows, but it’s IMPORTANT, goddamnit!
For some bewildering reason, the ritual around the impending baby’s “coming home outfit” takes on a level of gravitas not seen since Pope Francis selected his inaugration apparel from the approved list of papal vestments.
Invariably – despite multiple Pinterest boards and hours of window-shopping and agonised decision-making – it’s completely the wrong size anyway and you send your husband to the nearest 24-hour Kmart at 3am to buy some ugly $5 onesie that actually fits.
And Jesus Christ, it doesn’t matter. It. Does. Not. Matter.
The squalling foetus just emerged kicking and screaming out of a warm sea of amniotic fluid. It does not care for your tasteful boutique coture. It does not care for your Seed Baby 100% organic-cotton Sheep Applique Jumpsuit with matching cap and mittens.
The kid is going to puke on it, poo on it, spew on it, drool on it. You’ll drip boob juice all over it, and shed rivers of anguished tears of fatigue and frustration all over it. And the baby will be swaddled all the time anyway, so he or she could be wearing one of these precious “coming home” outfits and we wouldn’t even know it. I mean, the helmet-sized hot-pink flower in place of the baby’s head might offer some clue, but swaddling at least spares us the rest of the spectacle.
I mean sure, it’s a ridiculous ritual but what most new parents fail to realise is that while bringing a newborn baby home is most certainly a ritual act, it’s not quite the one they think it is. Bringing home a newborn baby for the very first time ever is an act of ritual sacrifice, except the baby isn’t the one being sacrified. You are.
You don’t know it yet, but YOU are the metaphorical lamb to the slaughter. The heart of your pre-children life is going to be viciously torn from the deepest depths of your being and devoured by this baby-monster, this thing that will spend months and years slowly sucking the life-blood out of you like the snot-nosed little succubus it is.
Sucking your time, your money, your energy, your freedom.
Sucking your sanity, your mojo, your will to live.
So forget about what the baby is wearing.
Go and splurge on a Prada jumpsuit and a pair of pink Jimmy Choo pumps. You’ll never afford them after the baby is born and you’ll want to look your sartorial best as you wave goodbye to yourself from the sacrificial altar. It won’t hurt very much. Just a lot.
The baby-gods must be pacified.
OK, time to ‘fess up. What did your baby’s “special” coming home outfit look like?
Mine was wearing a blue onesie with an embroidered puppy dog on it (WTF. I blame the pregnancy hormones for that). My first son was born in the middle of a heatwave so it was quickly replaced by a plain white singlet and a Huggies nappy, which I only remember because it had one of those fancy “wetness indicators” that alerted clueless new parents like me to the fact that their kid had pissed himself. The second kid I can’t even remember. That’s how special it was.