Friday, January 06, 2006

Good babies

The hard cold facts of what being a mother is really like sent me reeling, teetering on a delicate balance as a new parent. The shocking discernment that I was not adept at, nor did I particularly enjoy, the very act of motherhood was overwhelming.

That and the fact that I could not make my baby happy.

Perhaps women who have so called good babies, little ones who are easy to satisfy, love being a mother. I imagine the women who beamed at me, "Don't you just love being a mother?" had happy little babies, those who were easily pacified.

In answer to that piercing question, I could only force a weak smile and nod my head when on the inside I was screaming, "NO! I love my baby but I do not love being a mother!" As if on cue to the storm brewing in my heart, just about right then she would break out in a blood-curdling scream.

I had had an easy baby once, right before my child was born, and I had loved being a mother. It was with my niece, and what a wonderful baby she was.

I lovingly and diligently cared for her, even as my own burgeoning belly made getting up and down for diaper changes more and more difficult. I got up in the middle of the night for her feedings as her uncle by blood slept soundly by my side. I sang to her and combed her hair and dressed her so she would look pretty for her mother, who came to pick her up every Monday morning after work. My sweet little baby came back every Friday night.

What wonderful weekends we had together. We took her everywhere, and because she so favored her uncle people thought she was our child. No matter that she is a child of one race and my husband and I are of different ethnicities. She was with us and we loved her and it was obvious to others that she was ours.

Never had a child been so easy to raise. I had loved being a mother.
She spoiled me. I thought all children would be this easy to care for, to love, to bring up to be a person others would love and respect, a child that made her mother love motherhood.

My own child was not to be so. Neither could I pass her off to her mother every Monday morning.

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