Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A mother's arms are more comforting than anyone else's

In preparation for breast-feeding the Turkey, I've been reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It's been a great read and has given me some insight into why I may have had trouble with Nathan. I was never able to breastfeed Nathan, despite 2 weeks of trying, using a special tube system that would put the formula through a tube that was taped to my breast (so he would not get used to a bottle) and pumping constantly. My milk simply "never came in". It was an exhausting, depressing and defeating experience. Nonetheless, I mean to try again with baby #2 in the desperate hopes that it will work.

But, my favorite part of this book is really the way it describes the concept of "mothering". It's a concept that I think is lost on a lot of women today. Many women seem to think that simply the act of being pregnant and giving birth makes them a mother. I know many women who wear this like a badge when they fail to get down and dirty and do the day-to-day hard work. I feel like there is such a huge gap between what "mothering" is today and what it was 100 years ago. Don't get me wrong, I like the trend of dads helping out and being more involved and I definitely treasure Nathan's close relationship with his Daddy. That's a change in mothering I don't mind seeing, at all. But this trend of sending your kids off to be raised by strangers while you trot off to your oh-so-important career is downright offensive to every fiber of my Mama-being. Sure, your kid may be getting "standard" day care and their very basic needs met, but they aren't being mothered. Mothering involves the little stuff, the discipline, the snuggles, the "hey Mama, lookit what I can do"s and yes, I'm sorry, but it involves caring for the home. I worked for a very short time last year, as y'all know, and I only worked when Nathan was either at school or at home with his Dad. Nonetheless, I felt like I was missing out on so much by not being here, not being home, not caring for the home (which in turn cares for my husband and my son) that I was flat out miserable. The little money I was bringing in wasn't worth the drain it was taking on my life and my time with my family.

As I get ready to bring baby #2 into the world, here in 6(ish) short months, I am so thankful I'll be home and won't miss out on a single thing, not one whimper or giggle or smile or milestone.

"Good mothering means babying the baby, accepting that his wants and needs are the same. It includes holding him when he is too full to nurse, but is not ready to sleep. Mothering is changing a diaper or playing peek-a-boo."
"The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding"

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