I’ve been thinking about babies. A lot. Not my walking, talking, roaming alwaysbemybaby Bean or her friends. No, I mean actual babies. Crying, mewling, suckling, shitting, vomiting, sighing, sleeping, finger-holding ickle tiny cute wee babies.

Or rather, baby, singular. In a sling, against my breast, where I can smell its lovely head.

So it has occurred to me that the crucial point at which my memories of how traumatic my first six months of motherhood were have faded sufficiently for me to contemplate going back to newborn la-la land might be around about now. (Don’t get too excited. I only said contemplate…)

Obviously, life has gotten much easier since I wrote about being a human venn diagram with a severe sleep deficiency. But why? Most people seem to think that toddler wrangling is harder than babycare but it hasn’t been that way for me. I guess because:

– Bean was a particularly difficult baby. I won’t stand for the good/bad baby thing but the reality is some of them are difficult. They are. She was a ‘crying baby’. I know now that I should have pushed harder for the health nurse and doctor to take my concern that she had reflux more seriously but at the time all I heard were people telling me that some babies just cry. And cry.

And so do their mothers.

– I don’t take no shit no more. It’s probably easier to feel confident now that my daughter is so obviously healthy (she used to look so thin) but I put a lot of it down to experience. I’ve been doing this parenting gig for almost two years now so I figure I’ve earned the right to ignore unsolicited advice, even (especially) when it comes from professionals whose opinions I take issue with.

– I feel more supported. For those early months I felt the lack of a supportive maternal figure and a closeknit extended family like a looming prescence in the middle of my life. And I was too afraid of unravelling in front of people to ask for much help. Asking for help is still tough for me but at least I have worked on assembling enough of a network that I know that there are people who could watch Bean in a pinch, and who listen to me rant about motherhood sucking without judgement.

– I’m better with a walking-talking-person than a little squishy grub. It’s true. I loved her perfect babyness but I always suspected that I’d enjoy her more when she could do some things for herself and it’s proven to be true.  I’m actually excited about mothering a teenager. (Oh yeah, the next ten years are going to beat that out of me no doubt!)

– There is so much about her to feel joyful about. This morning I dropped Bean at daycare and one of her little friends was crying so she ran up to hug her, and then she turned and waved and said ‘bye Mum!’ and picked up a pile of blocks. She’s got compassion, confidence, self-assuredness. How’d that happen?

– My depression is being effectively treated. Funny how life gets easier when it’s not a struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

– As a baby, Bean was shy and clingy. I let her cling, believing, hoping that if she got her fill of reassurance she’d eventually have the strength to go off on her own, so I didn’t push her even when relatives or health nurses encouraged me to. Now, I can leave her at the gym creche and she enjoys it, I can leave her at daycare and she bounds in the door and fully trusts I’ll be back to get her before too long. It’s so much easier to parent when we can be separate as well as together.

It’s so much easier to be me, when I can live within the boundaries of my own skin.

And yet, I’m keen to go back to newborn daze all over again. I guess that for me, the blurred-boundaries, womb-and-breast connection really does have a pull all of its own, afterall.


Filed under Motherhood and Parenting, Musings, Reflections and Rantings

6 responses to “Brooding

  1. Kristalee

    You know I just wrote a post on this very subject. I suspect it is in the air today. Good luck my friend.

  2. I so could have written that paragraph about support. In fact I was discussing that very issue with my lovely counsellor this morning. Having networks in the absence of family is a necessary but beautiful thing.
    I sometimes feel like this too but am almost completely certain that there will be no more newborn dazes for me.

  3. Brooke

    Hi there. First of all Bean sounds just awesome. Secondly…..I just wanted to share a thoery a friend of mine had after making it through the newborn stage with her difficult baby. Lots of people told her she was nuts for going back for another round but her theory was that it couldn’t be worse! She survived a very difficult baby so why not go again? If she had another difficult one….she would survive again….possibly better knowing there was a light and having learnt from the first one. So she went in with eyes open and had a beautiful, placid, good sleeping baby!

    Just a thought!

  4. Oh yes, broodiness, and the amnesia that comes with it! I experienced severe post-natal illness after my first child was born, and still somehow went on to have two more. I still wanted them more than anything, despite horrific memories of the early days with my first new baby.

    I was lucky enough not to experience a recurrence of my illness. It’s not quite such a shock to the system when you’ve done it before I found! I feel so grateful to have experienced that instant love and euphoria that I once assumed always went with the turf.

    Also, as a mother with personal experience of babies who seemed to cry excessively, I’d just like to offer my sympathy. I know when people say that this is just what babies do, they think they’re being supportive, and telling you it’s not your fault. Well of course it’s not your fault, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. I found that lots of skin to skin contact helped to calm my babies – and me too!

    So I suppose what I’m saying is that yes, motherhood can suck at times, but don’t let that frighten you into not doing it again, if that’s what you really want.

    Best wishes. x

  5. My desire to have another child always coincided with a run of Good Nights. Then we’d have another Bad Night and I’d say “No more babies.”

    I didn’t start well as a mother: traumatic birth, unreasonable expectations, an endlessly crying baby and a move to the other side of the world = recipe for a single child household.

    And yet, here I am, mother of three, hankering for more despite my knackered womb and my husband’s vasectomy.

    It’s easier the second time. And harder. But, at the end of the day, it’s double the joy.

  6. 1. No one can keep putting mothering out, without from somewhere having mothering put in.

    2. In my own case i’ve found the broodiness comes and goes, and into my seventeenth (yikes!) year of being a mum i can see a pattern. For me, pregnancies/babies came roughly every 3½ years and feeling broody tends to hit me at vaguely those intervals. As if my body’s programmed. A couple of years ago i went through months of it, without the slightest confusion in my mind about the fact i’m not going to, and don’t want to, have any more.

    No idea if this happens to others but it’s interesting. Funny, i’m just about to post about using myself as a psychology case study without always being able to extrapolate to others. ;0)

    3. I was lucky that my 24/7 baby wasn’t the first.

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