"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Sunday, December 19, 2010

the cavewoman in me

There is nothing like pregnancy and motherhood to better remind us just how primal we are.....still. Regardless of the evolution of our species that has brought us to where we are--and who we are--today....Regardless of the technology that exists now to make life Easier, Faster, Better....Regardless of how much research has taught us and how much we Know....Regardless of just how Civilized we all are....the raw emotions, the instinctual behaviors, the way the body and the mind and the heart Just Know what to do, all remind us that as much as things change, so much more stays the same.

The first time I recognized just how amazing and Bigger Than Me my Pregnant Body was, I was about 24 weeks into my pregnancy with Evan. I wasn't a big meat-eater, but had craved meat--particularly hamburgers....particularly McDonald's hamburgers--my entire pregnancy. Just past the halfway point, however, I Could Not Get Enough red meat. I would stop by Mickey D's on my way home from work and order a hamburger. Then I'd get home and cook spaghetti with meat sauce. It came as little surprise then, when my Obstetrician called to tell me that my bloodwork came back showing that I was anemic. As it turned out, I had been self-medicating. An iron-supplement helped restore my iron levels and my cravings subsided to less-nauseating desires.

And then, my baby was born. And I had a job to return to. I had dreaded the thought. In fact, I refused to acknowledge the thought of returning to work. But I had to. We had just bought a big new house--I had to. And then, two weeks before my contract was going to start, I realized that I just couldn't. It was suddenly clear to me that I would, literally, sell the house. Hell, sell a car. I just wouldn't, no....COULDN'T, leave my baby. It wasn't a choice. The Cavewoman in me was baring her teeth and thumping her chest. And when I called Sam at work and told him, he recognized her. He came home from work that day with financial statements, spreadsheets, and the understanding that you don't mess with Mama. We worked it out.....and ended up keeping both the house and the car.
.....Months later, Evan had an anaphylactic reaction to trace amounts of milk in the rice cereal I was feeding him. My first thought, once I was assured that he was alright, was: What if this had happened at daycare? What if it wasn't trace amounts of milk that he was exposed to, but an entire bottle of milk-based formula? I literally shudder when I think about it.

There have been countless moments of Cavewoman Mama since then....mostly protective instincts, gut-feelings, and the unbelievably amazing way that the body prepares for and behaves during labor and delivery.

And then this....
Last week, I weaned Max after fourteen months of breastfeeding. He had self-weaned within the last few months down to three feedings a day: before nap, before bed, and at 5 am when he woke up too early and came into our bed. A few weeks ago I was able to help him to drop the naptime feeding and he handled it beautifully. I decided to drop the last two feedings at the same time because it didn't make sense for me to feed him at 5 am and not bedtime....and quite frankly, I didn't want to fight with him at 5 am. I wanted to just tell him that we were All Done Nursing. He knows All Done. He signs All Done with great gusto when ready to get out of the high chair. It made sense.

And it worked!

He whined a bit, but seemed to understand. He went to bed beautifully and slept well.....and has every night since. He's such a good boy.

I'm not doing quite so well. I don't remember going through this with Evan....but with Evan, weaning was a much more gradual process....but I'm having this very strange distant feeling from Max right now. It's not just because we're lacking the snuggle time we used to have twice a day....it's more than that....it feels...biological....primal....Cavewoman. At one point in our evolutionary history, it would have benefited a No-Longer-Nursing Mother to feel an emotional wall between herself and her No-Longer-Nursing Baby...it would allow her to attend to a new baby, perhaps, or for the Baby to be off learning hunting and gathering skills from the older Cavekids. I don't feel sad about this....I'm just noticing it. I know that once my hormones rebound from this transition we'll be right back on track. And I'm still connected. He's still my little lovey....my boo boo boy....my fat little buddha baby......

...he's just a little more Big Boy now.

Lesson Learned:
Sometimes you need to put away the parenting books and resist the urge to Google and just Be a Mother.

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