I took a bath with my son last night. He has a cold, his first one, and his nose is full of goop. I thought a warm bath might help calm him down and clear his nose out a little. So I got him undressed, wrapped him in his ducky bath towel, got myself undressed, and filled the tub up almost to the top. I put him in his bouncy seat next to the tub while I stepped in, and then reached over and lifted him out of his towel. He slid into the water easily, his skin slippery against my belly. He wriggled happily against me, waving his hands manically and kicking his feet against my legs. I rolled him over onto his back, supporting his head and shoulders while letting him float freely. He relaxed into the water, making tiny waving motions with his hands. I whispered to him about how it felt to have him swimming in my belly, the flutterings and floatings of his growing, his spinning and stretching. I marveled at how he ever could have been contained within my own body, he has grown so long now that it is hard to imagine him curled in my womb.
I wonder if he still remembers his life before he was born or if he has forgotten the dark wet warmth where he grew. He is still soothed by rocking, I remember before he was born he would often stop moving when I was walking around. I always thought he had gone to sleep, now I believe I was right. And when he sleeps in bed with me, he nuzzles his way up against my body, pressing his face against my breast and sighing as he relaxes. When I close my eyes I remember sleeping just the same way when I was pregnant, the two of us curled up together. I hope he finds the same comfort in closeness that I do, and that he knows he’ll always find that comfort in me.
When we were done with our bath, I wrapped him back up in the ducky towel and carried him to our bedroom. We laid down together, damp and warm and close, and I sang him to sleep. I know now that even if he doesn’t remember his life inside my body, that he knows we belong together. Somehow we never forget that.