I went to visit a friend and her two-day-old daughter, a tiny pink bundle topped with a full head of thick black hair. After a sad end to her previous pregnancy, it was wonderful to see my friend's tired, radiant face as she adjusted the nursing baby's latch. I re-heated the take-out Italian food I'd brought for her and her husband, positioned it so she could eat with her one free hand, and filled the air with laughter and warm words. Remembering my own exhausted attempts to interact with the stream of visitors following the arrival of my first baby, I said my final congratulations and headed home a half hour later.
I don't remember the last time I've been so happy for a friend and at the same time so happy for myself that I'm not in her position. Little man is 18 months old now, Sass is starting junior kindergarten in September, and I'm finally starting to feel the black hopelessness of early motherhood lifting. It was hard to believe when more experienced mothers whispered it against my tear-stained cheek, but they were right: it does get better.