Sunday, June 17, 2012

tether

i was paging through my journal the other night and came across this, written about 2 weeks after Tummymuffin IV was born:

"it's 4am and my son is hungry.  and because i've been lucky enough to be able to breastfeed him, i'm the only one who can do anything about it.  sitting in the semi-darkness, his little belly pressed against my chest, i am acutely aware of his warmth, his aliveness, his need for me.  i realise that i am just as tethered to him as i was when he was within me.  just as my whole body was needed to support his little life during pregnancy, it is still utterly necessary for his survival.  this responsibility alone staggers me."

i'm still staggered now, many weeks later, and this doesn't even touch on the awesome responsibility to nurture him emotionally/spiritually/mentally.  just pondering this physical tie is a mind-bender.  my days are now lived in several-hour intervals -- how long the tiny one can go between feedings or naps.  every dawn, when i stagger over to his bassinet, no matter how exhausted or rested i feel, there is that moment when he sees me leaning over him and his sweet face blooms into smiles, and my heart feels more full than my breasts that he's so hungry for.  and then there is that moment, always towards the end of the day, when he is starving, and i mean OMG CRISIS STARVING for the nth time and i think But I Just Fed You! and i secretly envy my seemingly carefree husband, who can leave the house as long as he wants to, without any physical tether pulling him back.  although apparently he secretly envies me sometimes because our son will always need me but not him in a very physical and pressing way, multiple times a day, for months to come.  so there's that.
i'm starting to finally accept that Tummymuffin IV is really the Muffin Who's Here, and here to stay.  i haven't been as paranoid/clingy/neurotic/fill-in-here-freaky-mom-adjective--of-choice as i expected i could be because of my uncertain reproductive past.  however, i have found that it is impossible for me to take anything for granted, and even at my most exhausted or frustrated i am still stubbornly, hunbly grateful.  will the sheen of thankfulness wear off as the small one finds ways to drive me batty insane?  or will i be dealing with some teenager shenanigans and still thinking Wow Thank God For This Experience; At Least it Means He's Still With Me.?
i don't know.  all i do know is that my baby is going to be hungry again in about 20 minutes (yes, even though i "just" fed him!) and that no matter what the physical tethers that bind us now may be, what matters is that he and i establish and strengthen our emotional/spiritual/mental bonds as well.
something to bend my mind around while nursing, perhaps...