A friend of mine, a mama of three, once gave me some wonderful advice. She said that one thing you learn is that children eventually move on. You think they are going to be clinging to you forever, but they learn independence. You think they will be nursing forever, but they wean. You think they will want to be in your bed forever, but they move out. And as much as you may try to avoid getting into a rut with these things, as much as you try to force them out, eventually it will happen. It kind of gives you a little bit of perspective when you might be in the middle of that clingly, over dependent infant/toddler age when they seek a lot of love and contact with the parents, especially mom. It kind of gives you perspective when you want to cut off some of those things but aren’t sure if it’s premature or not.
Her advice was given way back when Abdullah was still nursing and sleeping with us, and just before I got to that point of “what the hell am I doing here?” As in…”I’m tired of this 24/7 ‘mothering’ thing now!” Now, Abdullah is weaned, potty trained, and sleeps in is own room, most nights even putting himself to sleep…and here I am with number two, doing the same things over again ad infinitum. Difference is, this time, some of the choices have been taken away from me as to what I do with my baby. I simply cannot do many of the same things I did with Abdullah–we are still nursing, but my insomnia and neurological issues prevent me from sleeping with Zaynab. The nerve problems I had in my legs prevent me from carrying her or slinging her. As much as I tired from the intense baby days of Abdullah I miss being able to soothe a fussy baby by slinging him down, and then cheek-to-cheek swaying him to sleep. I miss the ability to do so, especially now having the perspective that it really does end, they really do just break off one day and go off on their own from the bed, the breast, and the hip.
Zaynab is a different child and she will learn in different ways from her brother. I feel like she’s already “broken off” to a certain degree.
Ironically, when Abdullah was born, his cord was cut a few minutes after the birth. Granted, this is pretty delayed according to routine obstetric care, but not delayed enough for the placenta to fully transfer all of its blood as we had discussed before the birth. Yet Abdullah was the one whose intangible “cord” stayed firmly put for so long. With Zaynab, after I birthed her into my hands, I gently held her on my chest, cord still attached, for over half an hour as we waited for the placenta. And yet she went on to have a lot less cuddles and “mama time”, being the second baby and given the other circumstances at the time.
And yet… life goes on, our love for her is just as strong, and most importantly, it all works out in the end… doesn’t it?
(I hope so, at least!)