Friday, April 27, 2007

That invisible cord

Little Dylan turned four months on Wednesday.

That also marks the fourth month for me post-natally, a milestone many associate with a return to physical health. I remember walking into a Pilates class 6-weeks post-partum at True Yoga, and being told by the instructor that I need to wait till at least 16-weeks post-partum before taking on any "core" strength building exercises.

Physically, I do feel fitter now, especially after E and I started doing 7km runs to East Coast and back. But a lower-back pain plagues me, a consistent ache I feel most acutely when I arch backwards and twist sideways. Some say this is the work of epidural, but I put it down to poor feeding and carrying postures.

Four more days and this milestone will concretise when I return to work. Yet, four months after the umbilical cord's been cut, I feel the tug of an invisible cord still, and I truly fear that I'll have major adjustment problems.

You see, for nine months this baby's survival and sustenance came entirely from the amniotic environment within me. For the first two- three months, I was still his major source of food and comfort.

Now that we've moved back, and the grandparents are taking a much more active role in his care and upbringing, and I feel as though I've fallen by the wayside, somewhat. It's not a good feeling.

I think Freud had his finger on the pulse when he theorised that a big part of man's Id (Ego) identity stems from his relationship with the mother, and the tensions in dealing with the conflicting emotions of needing to nurse and needing to be weaned off it.

As a mother, it is so easy to want to feel good about this special relationship, but I think it can also become an emotional stronghold that can put a barrier in our relationship with our spouses, other care-givers, and especially God.

There's no doubt about it, nursing a baby at the breast feels great. Here's a baby that seeks my warmth, my sustenance, desires me, needs me.

Having to put aside this privilege, and acknowledge that the little one equally needs his father, his other care-givers, the grandpa and grandma undermines this monopoly.

These thoughts came to me last night while I lie sleepless in bed. I think the real challenge for me is to remember, once again, that this whole process shouldn't be about me, but about God - His good and perfect will for this child that He's entrusted to us.

I wondered what it must have been like for the blessed Mary as she nursed little baby Jesus, and how she too, must have wondered at the awesome immensity of caring for one who is far greater than her, and yet so helpless at the same time.

A friend recently commented that there must be a reason why human babies, compared with animals, are the most hapless and helpless of the lot. He felt that babies are given so that God teaches adults patience and humility about the fragility of life.

For me, having this child is frustrating, humbling, and the most amazing experience ever.

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