There is a pull you have towards your baby as a mother that is more powerful and strong than anything else you have felt. It hits you in your guts first and then radiates through your body. If your baby needs you, you know this feeling will make you do whatever it takes to help them. It’s a primal instinct and no ‘calm down’s or ‘don’t worry’s can tame it.
For a week I have counted down the sleeps for my day out, child free, to do something other than food shopping or some other mundane task. I needed some time out. I was going to the movies! L has been having a bottle of expressed milk each week since she was about 8 weeks old so hubby and I had no concerns about me going. Milk defrosted, I was out the door with a bound in my step! A bound?! I lie – I had C in the car and was dropping her off at crèche for the few hours I was out, very nervous for her as she was going in undies for the first time (there were no dramas for what it’s worth!).
About half way through one of the most powerful and enjoyable movies I have ever seen, the dreaded text came from my husband: ‘L screaming, won’t take the bottle. Any idea what I can do’. This sets of the first gut wrench feeling of panic. I slipped out of the cinema and made the call which I knew wasn’t going to make me feel any better. I could hear my bubba screaming in the background and hear the distress in my husband’s voice. The panic rose and rose and with a quick return to my seat to farewell my mum and sister, I was bolting to the car. She had been distressed for close to an hour he told me and I knew the film still had around an hour to go with a half hour trip home. It was a no-brainer. My baby needed me and at that moment I very much needed her with me. Half an hour from home suddenly felt like I had a million miles to travel and many, many more minutes to get there.
When you are trying desperately to get somewhere there is always that feeling of being trapped in a video game. It feels as if obstacles are jumping at you from every angle challenging you give up or deliberately making it take twice as long as it should. Packed rabbit warren car park, traffic lights, cars slowing to turn, roadworks, buses pulling out, cars traveling at relaxed holiday speeds – felt like the world was against me!!
On arrival home she had begun to calm and I quickly whisked her out of my poor husband’s arms, onto my breast where she had a very good and relaxed feed and finished it off with a massive smile and a lovely conversation with me. D looked worse for wear and spoke of his frustration and distress as a dad, wanting to help his daughter but knowing in that moment that I was the only one who could calm her. It reminded me that dad’s too have those ‘am I doing it right’ , ‘I’m failing moments.’ D is a very confident dad and rarely skips a beat when it comes to holding down the fort on his own but today he felt, and honestly probably was, helpless. He loves his little girl and could do nothing for her. Add to this, the guilt he felt at calling me when he knew how much I was looking forward to the movie and all in all, he finished the arvo feeling pretty rotten!
So, where does that leave me? Well, seems we had some bottle refusal at play today. Hopefully a once off but would I want to risk it again soon- probably not! C went through a phase of refusal but at that stage she was well onto solids so a missed milk feed was easily replaced with a yoghurt or cereal feed. I’m relieved now that work and creche for L have been put off for a few months, concerned that I will be unable to tutor for long stretches in the evening but, more selfishly, a little sad that any absence from L will fill me with anxiety. I don’t ask or wish to be away from either of my children for long periods of time but the demands of parenting two means I need some time to wander on my own, hot choccie in hand, child free! Another phase that shall pass I am sure. As I said to D, it will only be a short few months until he is the favourite!!!