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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another sappy rendition of how much I love my child, that, and some commentary

A recent post on doubleX has got me thinking about my initial days as a mother.

When I first read the essay, which parallels Katie Roiphe's first days as a new mother to an opium den, I marveled at the the beauty of her description of newborn/mother love. I remember feeling this way.

Apparently there was some backlash about the essay, saying that it wasn't an accurate description of the newborn days and that the narcotic effect of the pregnancy hormones doesn't last for long, then drudgery sets in.

I thought Roiphe's essay was a beautiful description of the newborn days, even if it isn't completely accurate.

Annika's birth commenced an epoch when my arms became a cradle of motherly love, depth and warmth. My breasts ceased to be sexual objects and became a form of nourishment, comfort and consolation. Gone were/are the days when the public cries of children are an annoyance.

During Annika's newborn days I remember thinking that somehow the presence of my eyes upon her face, even while she slept, was a necessity to her development. And even if I hadn't thought that, I couldn't look away. The magnetic draw to stare at her was instilled so powerfully in me that I often wondered how I would ever be able to tear myself from her side when the time came. The image of Annika's minuscule newborn fingers and toes are etched in my memory for life. I can still feel the smooth glass-like quality of her soft skin under the soft touch of my stroke.

Truthfully, I also remember having a crick in my neck so bad that only a chiropractor could alleviate my pain. Pregnancy left me with plantar fasciitis, not to mention that the newborn days are filled with worries about weight loss, and a number of other standard physical ailments left from pregnancy and labor.

I also remember crying and telling Toyin how desperately I needed to be able to leave for an hour to go the gym.

I agree with Allison Gopnik where she writes In Defense of Katie Roiphe that the essay is akin to a love poem. While Roiphe's essay may not be exact, what is significant to me is the depth of love and bonding she experienced. It is the beginning of their attachment relationship. And remembering her son's newborn days with the honeyed glow of intense craving is more important than remembering with factual accuracy how tired she was or her body's aches and pains.

I am in the throes of missing the newborn days because I see the baby days slipping away day by day as my baby morphs into a little girl.

But the feelings I felt then, the keen craving to be close by my infant, are still intense for me.

Even now, 15 months later, I ache when I am away from Annika for a few hours. This morning when I left the house, she was gone with Toyin on a shopping mission. It is the first time I have ever left while she is gone and won't be home when she gets returns.

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