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a wrenching kind of love

Since having Matei, there are moments of every kind of emotion imaginable. I have a somewhat strong temperament for all that I tend to be very gentle and there have been a few nights when I just wanted to throw my child at his father's head and shriek something helpful like "You deal with him!" and storm off somewhere to a less complicated life. There are other moments when I just want to keep holding the baby because he is so tiny and so warm and so awww and most of all I feel sorry for him because he's right and it isn't easy being alive in this world.

I recognise my humanity. I don't feel overly guilty about my uncharitable thoughts because you know, human. And a pretty decent person overall. But I do feel sad when I get frustrated and usually a strong protective instinct kicks in because he is just so tiny and helpless. He is due to get his BCG shot in a couple of days and I'm already feeling down about it because the worst thing about hurting a baby is how surprised that baby sounds when it screams. How let down by the sudden cruelty of the world.

When he's upset my son clings to my neck like a baby monkey and sobs exactly as I do when I have a broken heart. And in those moments all I feel is a gut-wrenching kind of love.

Most days the weight of the responsibility cripples me. I feel like someone has just thrust a human into our arms and gone "Here! Keep it alive!" which horrifies me vaguely when I consider how readily plants perish in our care.

I can imagine that what I feel for Matei will change and deepen and flow in new directions as he grows. But I don't think it will ever lose the undertone of what I feel now - an affection so raw, so primal, so deep that it's just the flip side of grieving. A feeling that's mostly like having your heart impossibly expanded and then ripped out of your chest Kaali-Maaa style, by one of the enthusiastic priests from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

It is not in any sense a comfortable emotion. A thing too deep, too intense, too full of teeth to be filed under mere happiness. It doesn't deal with contentment and small joys -only with angsts and ecstasies.

We gambled when we had a baby. Staked the stress of it, my history of depression and ambivalence about biological reproduction against the strength of our marriage, who we are as people. Decided that we don't do well with a still and simple life and that love is always worth the risk. Set in motion the things that would change our lives as irrevocably as if they had been broken.

And everyday it's the same thing. Regardless of whether it's a good day or a bad day, whenever I look at my son it's always the same feeling. A punch of emotions. Having my quivering, aching, anxious heart extracted from my chest and served up to me in his shape.

Comments

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chiller
Jan. 21st, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
But I don't think it will ever lose the undertone of what I feel now - an affection so raw, so primal, so deep that it's just the flip side of grieving.

I really get this.

And you are a wonderful and lovely and passionate woman. xx
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
I thought you might relate. :)

And you are a wonderful and lovely and passionate woman. xx

Likewise. x
land_girl
Jan. 21st, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
You write beautifully about just how it feels to be a parent. Although I am sure you go through a great deal to write them, I always enjoy reading them.

And I am still hoping to visit within the next few weeks (I am sorry that it was just one thing too far this weekend). Especially since you are so nearby when we are staying in London. And maybe I can even get to play babysitter before we have to give up the flat in the summer :-)
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
Hurray!
It would be really lovely to see you whenever you have the opportunity to drop by.
casaubon
Jan. 21st, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean about wanting to keep holding them. Especially when they've fallen asleep on you.

Daniel didn't scream when he got his injections. I think he was too busy sucking at the time.
OTOH he tore off half a fingernail a few days ago and he wasn't happy at all. Today he went face-first into a concrete pavement. You learn to get blasé about injuries when you've got a toddler. Or maybe I'm just a heartless Daddy... :)
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
Especially when they've fallen asleep on you.


It's amazing how much cuter they are when they are asleep. :D
offensive_mango
Jan. 21st, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful, and so is Matei. He looks like you this time! Last time he looked like Z. I can't wait to see him.
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you.:)
Come visit whenever you like.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 21st, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
ちびちゃん。
(Anonymous)
Jan. 21st, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
生まれたばかり? すごくちいちゃいね。
(Anonymous)
Jan. 21st, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
ちびちゃん、ちょっと苦しそうなんですけど~
かわいそうに。
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
That's very thoughtful.
mockduck
Jan. 21st, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
It's early days yet, though, and the thing to remember about being a parent is that children, by their nature, keep changing, and so do their demands. That's both comforting and at the same time rather daunting, I find. You could look at it as saying that by the time you've got the hang of caring for a newborn baby, those skills are no longer any use to you and you've got to move on. Or you could see it as 'well, if this bit is hard, maybe the next bit will be easier'. No sleep, plus the hormones of a new mum, make it hard to see the larger picture. Me, though? I've got no excuse.

There's also a starnge kind of Stockholm syndrome thing that goes on, I reckon, that makes you look back at times of extreme emotion as actually rather wonderful. I know exactly what you mean about plants though -the same thought occurs to me regularly.

That is a lovely picture.
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
i love that icon
Or you could see it as 'well, if this bit is hard, maybe the next bit will be easier'.

That or differently difficult, oh yis. I can see how each bit carries its own hardships and its own rewards.
prophetsong
Jan. 21st, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
Oh goodness you have captured exactly what I feel everyday when I look at Zakary. It's like I've had this totally raw and new emotion engraved right through my soul like lettering inside a stick of seaside rock and unlike any other relationship I've ever felt in my entire life, I know that whilst my love for him will change and develop that base of emotion never will. It's wonderful and terrifying all at once.

Not sure how much of my LJ you've read but I gambled my relationship when I decided to have my baby and lost big time but I'd go through all that pain and heartache again and again to have him and that in itself is also wonderful and terrifying.

Gorgeous picture :)
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
Not sure how much of my LJ you've read but I gambled my relationship when I decided to have my baby and lost big time but I'd go through all that pain and heartache again and again to have him and that in itself is also wonderful and terrifying.

I saw a bit of that and shook my head in admiration at how well you're coping, because I can't imagine how much tougher the whole gig is for single parents.
dubaiyan
Jan. 21st, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)
What mockduck said. The past year has taught me that babies don't break, Don't be too harsh on yourself ♥
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, mothers tend to break much more easily than their offspirng. :)

Thank you. x
(Deleted comment)
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
Z sees Photoshop as an extension of his essential fatherhood skillz.
67threnody
Jan. 21st, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Amazing entry (as usual).

I love the picture, too.
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
:)
Thank you.
ozgirlabroad
Jan. 21st, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
He has lovely eyes :)
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
It's amazing how much prettier the whole child is when his face is not screwed up in existential angst.
lebeautemps
Jan. 21st, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
Ditto what they all said: it all sounds so perfect and he's adorable.

Its great that you have the ability to step back and smell the roses at this time. I never did - stressed too much about being the perfect mother, housework, dinner etc. I shouldn't have. None of that crap matters.
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
I think I have it easier in many respects because Z does quite a lot and I have family who have stepped in for a couple of hours to allow me to either sleep or cry. :)
prophetessamy
Jan. 21st, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
"...so deep that it's just the flip side of grieving."

That's exactly it. You said it.
rainsinger
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
It always gives me a nice lift to know that other mums relate to what I feel. :)
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