The Simplest Act

I was listening to some cheese on Magic FM on the drive to the hospital tonight, the Cutting Crew’s ‘I’ve Been in Love Before’ and a line struck me ‘the hardest part is when you’re in it.’ True of relationships but not of falling in love or being in love with your children. I fall for Lucas every day. He is so surprising and funny and complex and smart. As I get to know these babies I fall for their little characters more and more. Beatrix is really quite delicate and sweet and much more girly than I had anticipated in terms of relative physicality but can be a madam. Alexander seems intense and tenacious and feeds like a machine but he really needs me. I feel he needs a lot of love and holding and I long for him to start feeding full time so I can give him as much time.

The act of breastfeeding feels like an act of love. The simplest one we have. I’ve been thinking about why it is so important to me and causing a bit of tension between me and the nurses. I want to be able to breastfeed them so much that I fight and resent the intrusion of bottles in my day. Bea lost a measly 10g these past couple of days. I was warned it was normal when they start demand feeding so wasn’t too bothered. But the dietician immediately suggested topping up every breastfeed with a bottle. I reacted a bit I suppose as I just don’t think she needs it but the older nurses know how to play me and suggested we humour the doctors. To be fair she took it but she also vomited suggesting it is too much. No more bottle/breast confusion today though so maybe she has caught on fast.

When I feed them myself I feel such pure burning love it is quite overwhelming. The let down reflex feels like love being wrenched from you. I am getting over some of the ambivalence I felt towards Alexander now. I think it was just fear and the fact that I had gone through quite a rupture in the normal bonding process during my pregnancy. I simply hadn’t dared to believe he’d live and each time he gets ill a little bit of that disengagement kicked back in as a means of self protection. Now I feel their ups and downs as a mother and trust them to fight back.

We have to make the most of these early years when love is simple and uncomplicated and they just need you and you want to give them everything. Does it change as they get older and your relationships get more complex? For tonight I am happy to accept that I am, we are, very, very lucky indeed to have this chance and if I can keep finding strength to give them what I have I will. Because what else is there to do when you’re in love?

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