I woke up a few days ago with a can’t lay on that side, super painful, red inflamed left breast, slight temperature, achy muscles and sore throat. Yes, the beginning of mastitis-the I’ve been doing too much and not taking care of myself condition that strikes thousands of breastfeeding mothers. The thing is, just the day before my intuition told me that I was doing way too much. Wee babe was going through a major growth spurt, my milk was flying everywhere and every fiber of my being was yelling, “CURL UP WITH YOUR BABY AND REST!”
But I didn’t. I couldn’t, without guilt, take an afternoon to myself to rest and paid the price with an infection that likely could have been prevented by just taking a time out. I’m not having any breastfeeding issues so it really was just a sign to sloooooooooooooow dooooooooooooown,immune system is shot and you need a break. After getting up and getting the big kids some breakfast I went to lay down in Liam’s bed (as I didn’t want to wake the baby still dozing in mine). I started to feel panic. Not an all out panic attack by any means. More of a I don’t want to be alone and I wish someone would hold me type feeling. I debated whether or not I should knock on my husband’s door (he locks his bedroom door at night to keep some of the bigger cats away from our older, and somewhat stiff jointed, purebred). I didn’t want to come off as needy or anything and wasn’t sure if my knocking would actually result in what I wanted in any case. But, knock I did. I didn’t get held, though, and felt ridiculous for thinking that maybe I would.
After my husband got up, needing to feel contact with someone else, I did go back to my room and lay down with the baby. Thinking about how much I just wanted to be close to someone and be hugged got me thinking about how this is exactly what I’ve wanted for years. I’ve been chasing after someone to hold me and tell me that I am okay since my mother died when I was 12 years old. There was a nurse, and a teacher, and a (female) colleague, and a mentor and I’d hope for a hug and some nurturing. What it comes down to, though, is that I want a mother. I want MY mother. I want MY mother to hug me. I want MY mother to hug me and tell me that I am okay. The sad thing is, I’m not sure that my mother would hug me and tell me that I am okay. I don’t know my mother. I get the feeling that she wasn’t very touchy feelly-certainly, the rest of my family isn’t. I don’t know if she’d hug me if she were alive. Perhaps this hug that I’ve been craving for years wouldn’t have materialized even if she were here.
I’ve got to stop chasing this elusive dream. I’m not going to get a mother to hold me and tell me that I am alright. However, the thought is exhausting. Despite growing up in a family where physical affection or even the words “I love you” were scarce (though, I know we were indeed loved and were cared for well), I crave physical touch. I long for someone to hold me, to touch my hair, to tell me that I’m loved. I feel empty inside. I don’t feel like there is anything left in me to give because I’ve given in all away to my own children. Having a new baby is always especially difficult for me as you do have to give so much to this new wee little life. Then, there’s constant work that goes unrecognized and doesn’t show within 20 minutes anyways as the children just leave a trail of destruction (or is that life) behind them as they go about their day with no regard to the work I’ve put into keeping the house. They yell and they bicker and they talk rudely to me and each other. They complain about the food and that they have nothing to do and I try. I try to be understanding. I try to be calm but inside I am screaming (and screaming altogether too much on the outside, too). I can’t believe that I’ve put all my love into these children and this is the attitude that I get. They aren’t who I want to send into society and I’m tired. It’s exhausting to give without getting anything in return so I’ve stopped. I don’t hug them and we don’t cuddle on the couch and I order them more than I talk to them. This does no good, I know. I’m not stupid but I’m tired. I desperately want to hug them and I love them more than words can say but their unloving actions and disrespect makes it hard because I feel like no matter how much effort I’ve put in, I’ve failed them if this is what my years of loving them has accomplished. I want to curl up with the one being in the world that thinks I’m the best. That looks at me and smiles. That you can see in his eyes that he is think “that’s my Mommy, and she is THE BEST!” I want to raise a generation of children that are affectionate. That will hug their children and tell them that they are loved but I’m having a hard time modelling that behaviour. I want to feel full of life and full of love but instead I’m sitting here with a dull ache in my chest right over my heart reminding me that I want to feel loved, too, and the realization that I’m going to have to be the one to love me so that I can continue to love others.