I recently read the most beautiful description of nursing. The tenderness with which this mother describes this moment with her child brought tears to my eyes. Tears of emptiness; tears of wanting. Tears unable to quell the rawness of my heart crying out "That! I want that!”

I feel disengaged, disembodied as I hold my son to my breast and watch him suckle for nourishment. This isn't how I thought I'd feel -- as my body changed to accommodate his changing, growing body inside me, I often imagined tender moments of mother and child. The bonding felt so real; I could hardly wait to experience it firsthand. The first time I brought him to my breast I was literally shaking; quivering in anticipation. His lips found sustenance and I waited for the glow to surround me. I gazed down at his tiny head, waiting for the wonderment, the fullness.



And wanting.

"Why?” The question winged through my head like a trapped bird. "What am I doing wrong? What is wrong with me?”

Days pass, weeks pass. Sleepless nights blur with whirlwind days of growing together, each of us learning the steps in this mother-child dance. We play together, laugh together, cry together, compelled by our need for each other. I thrill with his every accomplishment -- the amazement on his face as he finds his fingers, his delight when he first tastes his toes. I giggle when he reaches out to explore my face with his tiny fingers, my heart aching with joy. My love for him so immense, so overwhelming that at times I feel as if it might suffocate me. Caring for him, nurturing him, watching him sleep; my daily delight is him. Yet deep, deep inside there is still an echo, a void.

Tonight as I sit in his room feeding him before we go to bed, the words of that other mother flit through my head and my heart again cries “That! I want that!” I mentally plug my ears, resigning myself to the belief that I will never have That.

His suckling slows, he drifts off to sleep. Tiny tummy full, he sighs in contentment and turns his face away from my breast. His breath brushes across my arm and in that instant my longing explodes into a million pieces. I am struck with the blinding reality that this is what I’ve been longing for. The joy I crave is not in the doing, it is in the being. In the sight, the sound, the touch, the smell. In the rushing way my senses are filled each time we just are.

He sighs again, tiny lips still pursed in a perfect kiss. An invitation, I think, one that I accept with a fullness, a contentment, a peace unlike anything I’ve ever imagined. I kiss his lips, whisper "Sweet dreams" and his lips curl up into a smile. I tuck him into his bed and head off to mine. As I drift off to sleep I feel my lips curl into a smile mirroring his.

Softly my heart whispers “This.”



Amy Jo said...

I can't wait for that moment. I also thought that nursing would be blissful, and at this point I am also waiting for the rapture. Thanks for giving me some hope!

Elizabeth said...

Hang in there, Mommy. I hated nursing so much that the sound of a hungry baby made me cringe and cry and curl up in a little ball.

Any idiot can do something that makes them feel like a hero all day long. Doing something that makes you feel like a glorified bovine in a nursing bra -- now that's courage my friend.

Hang in there, Mommy.

Susan said...

Elizabeth, thank you so much for putting those words out there -- your post was so amazing! Thank you for the reassurance here. Knowing that there are others out there who have struggled with the same things sets my heart at ease.

AmyJo, waiting for the rapture, LOL! Just don't be disappointed when a single angel with a crooked halo and a broken lute shows up... :)! I'm so glad I've got you to share this stuff with!