Monday, May 10, 2010

The Bond of Motherhood

I have a very dear friend who, after the birth of her second child, commented to me that she felt like she bonded with the second baby more quickly than she had with the first. And I remember thinking to my (at that time) childless self- how do you not instantly bond with your baby?  And then I had Price.

I loved Price from the minute he was born, but I was afraid of him- or more afraid of how I was supposed to mother him.  The first night we were in the hospital trying to get him to eat.  I was crying, you know being all jacked up on hormones, having a baby who wanted to sleep more than eat, and recovering from being in labor for 48 hours will do that to a girl- make her cry...  And he was swaddled.  He had been on this planet, in my presence for more than 7 hours and I hadn't bothered to look at his legs, his feet or his toes.  I just took Don's word for it that all 10 of his toes were there.  I was sitting on the bed when I unwrapped him, and I remember very clearly thinking, "Oh yeah, you can look at him, he's yours, you don't have to get permission from anyone to unwrap him."  Such a simple thing as looking at my own son's newborn body was huge to me.  But looking at him unwrapped, he was so much smaller than I thought he would be, he had long, skinny legs.  He was so fragile and I was so afraid that I was going to break him.  And yet, somehow without any kind of background check or test of our knowledge on raising a kid, they kept us a few days, made sure we had a proper car seat, gave us an intimidating list of things that could happen to the baby in the next few months and sent us on our merry way.

And then we got home and settled into the routine of having no routine and living in ordered chaos.  And since Price still didn't like to eat and only wanted to sleep, I became obsessed with reading about feeding methods, charting every ounce of formula ingested, every wet or poopy diaper produced.  My days seemed to revolve around pumping, making bottles, and pretty much turning into a sleep deprived zombie.  I was so keyed up on getting him to eat, I couldn't enjoy those early feedings because I would cry the whole time- I was sure I was either starving (trying to breast feed him) or poison him (when giving him formula from a bottle).  I let Don do a lot of the things I think most moms do- like bathe him, change him, swaddle him. Don was leaving in a mere six weeks and I wanted Price to bond with him so badly before he left, that I just kind of checked out unless I was trying to feed him.

And as much as I loved him, he made me tired.  He confused me.  He disrupted my life.  He made me scared to go to Target without an escort- I mean if I was there with just him, what would I do when the inevitable meltdown occurred and I had to rush out of the store with a screaming baby and a cart full of unpaid for items?  And there were days I questioned why had we wanted to do this so badly.

And then one day, he smiled and he quit melting down as often and I began to figure out how to soothe a meltdown.  I realized that he wasn't as breakable as I had built him up to be.  He and I figured out a good feeding routine.  And the love turned into like and the bond that was there from the beginning began to feel real.  And it grows stronger every day.

Happy Mother's Day.

4 comments:

Amy Ray said...

Beautiful!

Kalina said...

Happy Mother's Day! I got the card from my wonderful godson. Thanks so much to his even more wonderful mother. I miss you guys.

mom said...

I was there from the first second that he was born. You did a great job of covering those feelings. I've been proud of you from the very first moment that you became a mom.
Keep up the good work and enjoy every second you can. One day he'll marry and move away and you'll still carry him in your heart when you can't carry him in your arms anymore.

shelly_finn said...

bwaaaaaaaaaaaa! Terrell, this is so perfect. I could have written something almost identical (well, not really, bc you are a better writer!) But you captured the feelings perfectly. And it gives me hope that it will get better. I already see glimpses of it and I can't wait! Love you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails