the thursday group

Friday, August 25, 2006

My first week as her mother

I had no milk. My daughter had gone on full breast-feeding for six days, and yet I had no milk. That Friday evening, I spent the whole night up and about, playing her music ("Enjoy the Silence", Tori Amos' version) and a few lullabies so she could go to sleep. She looked pale, shrivelled, and upset.

I held her upon my breast for as long as I could until she fell asleep while feeding.

But I had no milk. After two hours, she woke up, and I was denied any possibility of getting a good night's sleep.

In the morning, a frantic father and an anxious, helpless mother rushed their hungry child to a clinic, fed her promptly, and decided that breast-feeding was not the best recourse for their eldest daughter.

Thus the stories began: the birth of an instinctively protective mother who, to this day, holds her daughter close to her bosom even as the little one trots away independently as the years pace; and, the three-year recovery of a tired yet grateful heart.

Friday, August 18, 2006

maternally speaking

ang hirap maging nanay.

It's a hearbreaking, heart-bursting job. Sometimes you are so proud of your little one your heart almost literally bursts with happiness, gigil, and you want to squeeze him, hug him, love him until the end of time.

And yet, there are those moments when you can't stand who he is, what he does, and are afraid of who he will become. And you can't feel this way. You are not God, you can't mould him, control him. You are a mother. A paragon of virtue, patience, understanding, commitment, loyalty.

When I feel like being a M.M. (monster mom: one who screams and throws a fit much worse than her toddler; this part of me I pacified by sending my little one to school for half a day, everyday, when he was just shy of three), I reminisce. I look back on the 3 weeks my boy spent in the NICU, tubes and all, hanging on for dear life. His chest would heave from his crying fits, his pitiful cries brought about by extreme hunger. At one point his chest caved in and the paedia suspected he had congenital heart disease. I cried every single day from the day I left my hospital bed until the day I brought him home. I visited him everyday for 30 (three-zero short minutes) and all I could do was offer a finger and bawl my eyes out. I felt my world was ending there and then. I have to reminisce to keep things in perspective. To remind my M.M. self that petty things, trivial arguments, age-appropriate tantrums and the like are best dealt with an open mind anda heart full of empathy.

Mothering can be so laborious. For some, it even proves fatal and dangerous (especially if you're off your rocker to begin with). Oftentimes I find myself writing about my motherly frustrations, wanting to vent on a computer's pages, and in the next instant I am horrified at my words and proceed to delete them. Perhaps in deleting them electronically I secretly hope they disappear emotionally as well. This time I'm not deleting a word. I want to be able to look back and say that I was an honest mother. Not perfect, rarely patient, frequently unkind, unreasonably sarcastic, only human, but very much in love with my little boy. Motherhood for me is living out all the maxims about imperfect love, tough love, in its purest, most solid form.