Oh Bieber, My Bieber: An Unexpected MASH Note

Here is a parenting confession I am definitely not proud of: I am, against my will, becoming a Justin Bieber fan. I enjoy his music. His public persona, now that it’s in his post-horrible mea culpa phase, makes me laugh. I’m not quite at Belieber levels—like, nope—but today I voluntarily brought a GQ into my home with the Beebs on the cover. I felt like I had to wrap it in brown paper before I left the store. (The store in question was Loblaws, for the record. Purveyors of filth.)

Some backstory: on October 23, 2015, Justin Bieber released the single “Sorry,” a 100-BPM tropicalia dance track that debuted at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video features a bevy of bodacious dancers in mid-90s Fly Girl regalia—lots of acid wash booty shorts and ultra-reflective sunnies—enthusiastically dancing to Bieber’s kinda-sorta apology. It quickly garnered multiple millions of views on YouTube; it currently has nearly a billion views.

I LOVE THIS SONG. Like, I love this song. I do not remember the first time I heard it, but I do know that I listened to it today. Twice. Hundreds of those billion YouTube hits belong to yours truly. I still turn up the radio when it comes on. It came in the midst of Bieber’s unexpected artistic growth spurt. Before “Sorry,” JB teamed up with Diplo and Skrillex to release “Where Are U Now,” the amazing dolphin-inflected track that started maybe, sort of, giving him adult credence. Bieber’s since released “Love Yourself,” which makes me laugh because it’s a thinly veiled eff-you set to an acoustic jam, complete with doo-doo-doo “lyrics.” Hilarious.

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Hot.

But “Sorry” was something special.

In my seventh month of pregnancy, I needed “Sorry.” I needed a song that would make me shake my widening ass, and I could sing to my belly as I worked. I needed a video with great dancing, featuring dancers who were fit but not necessarily slender. I needed a song that made me feel genuinely excited when I heard it.

When I first found I was pregnant, I assumed I’d be good at it: that morning sickness would be a minor irritation, that I wouldn’t get stretch marks, that I’d feel great about the new life that was percolating inside. And sometimes, that was true. But, actually, pregnancy was a high-anxiety experience. I struggled with gaining weight, and I didn’t enjoy how my body changed. I embraced some of it (my skin and hair looked great), but I hated not being able to hop up on the kitchen counter, how much my back hurt, the pain of acid reflux, having to give up my bike, and a myriad of other little gives and digs that emerged. Pregnancy was something I tolerated, not something I loved.

When “Sorry” came out, it surprised me how much I liked it. Beiber was an artist I assumed I would never respect, but he unexpectedly released something I loved. In the midst of a pregnancy I assumed I would love but didn’t, it was wrinkling my brain.

Six weeks into NS’s life, we’re learning to embrace the unexpected. When he cries, we practically stand on our heads to get him to stop: swinging him in the car seat, walking endlessly around our apartment with him in the carrier, swaddling, bouncing, making up songs, making up other songs, checking and re-checking diapers, downloading white noise apps, ignoring him, endless combinations of sleep sacks/bassinets/cribs/onesies, hours of burping, nursing, rocking, shushing, and more. It’s exhausting. It’s not a joyful process. There are a million other things I’d rather be doing than soothe a crying baby. But when something finally, unexpectedly, blessedly works? There’s an unexpected crackle of relief in the air. We can all get some rest.

And maybe one day, NS will have the good grace to say sorry for all the fuss. Until then, Justin Bieber can do it for him.

About the Author

Kaitlyn Kochany
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Kaitlyn Kochany is a Toronto-area freelance writer and editor. She had her son, NS, in January 2016, and has been trying to sleep and write since then.

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