Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Processing Motherhood

It is good to know that all the feedback I received about mother-in-laws mellowing once they meet their grandchildren is true. The visit from M's mother went very well. Better than either he or I expected, based upon her previous visit and comments regarding the pregnancy. Unfortunately, I had a GERD episode in the middle of her visit so I didn't get to do much with her, however, it was a blessing that she was here to take care of the Little Man while I spent the day in bed running a temp and coughing up aspirated stomach acid and phlegm. I've a feeling that my LES valve has been damaged somehow either during or after the pregnancy, because I can't lay down with anything in my stomach or it will come up. The back of M's head can testify to that, poor dear. I'm waiting to hear back from my doctor as to what to do next.

I've been (loosely) following the Dr. Sears approach to Attachment Parenting because it makes sense to me. My goal is to foster a strong sense of security in the Little Man, the kind of security that comes from trusting that the adults in his life will meet his needs. It is my hope that I'll never lose that trust, because one of the things I've been processing as I've been caring for my son are the early memories of my own mother, and my lack of trust in her.

I should state that my mom wasn't a bad mother per se... she just wasn't a good one. She wasn't very maternal or nurturing -- I recently confirmed this with her best friend from my childhood years, wanting to make sure my child's memory and Reality squared-up. Getting married and having children was, for her, the cost of freedom. Being a wife and mother, however, was not terribly interesting to her, and she put both roles behind her when I was 9.  I chalk it off as a Me-Generation thing.

Anyway... I can remember as early as 4 or 5 not telling my mother about an injury because I knew she'd hurt me in the process of attending to it, and knew she wouldn't provide any comfort to offset the pain. It was not an isolated incident, either. I should have gotten stitches on that occasion, and still have the scar to remember it by. Even today I am convinced that the ugly scar is better than the care would have been.

As a consequence of my lack of trust in my parents (my VietNam Vet father was a whole other story), I had trust issues until I entered grief-therapy in my mid-Thirties. Since I know what lasting impressions parenting styles can have on children, I'm determined to create and maintain a sense of security and trust with my son -- even if it means less sleep for now :)

Several times a day, Little Man meets my eyes and smiles this special smile that causes something inside me to flutter. It's a bit like the tearful-wonder feeling I get when my milk lets down. That smile lets me know I'm doing it right, this motherhood thing. Evolution at work -- the maternal instinct is alive and well in me.

This weekend is a just-us weekend, except for a BBQ at a friend's house, and the following weekend M's father and sister arrive for a week-long visit. Fortunately for them, there really isn't much work left to be done on the house, so they'll actually get to enjoy a California vacation with the newest addition to the family. Then a week later it's my step-mother and step-sister. My step-mom is willing to stay for several days, if we want. M seems to be pretty comfortable with her, her nursy-talk about illnesses notwithstanding.

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