A mother fills you, soothes you, teaches you harmony and safety, dispenses wisdom and concern, shows you the sheer wonder of the world, provides logic and truth, receives you as you are, tends to you, cradles you, and loves you always. This is the mother story I tell myself, the one many of my friends thinks is illusion.
This was the mother story I told myself when a month after I gave birth I found myself menstruating despite the fact that I am breastfeeding full time. I needed to hold myself together and be a wonderful mother despite the fact that I felt completely out of sorts with all of the hormones flooding through me. What kind of mother was I wanting to hide under the covers and cry instead of caring for my child? I didn't know what to do. I kept hearing Janet remind me that it was too late to yield to such temptations, that Sasha was here and that I was a mother, that predictable being who was meant to set things right, the very thing I longed for constantly.
But there I was teary eyed and off balance, rushing around the house trying to appear to be doing what I should be doing, all the while struggling to stay sane. On the second day of this hormone hell, Janet called me to come and feed Sasha who was rivaling me for neediness. I ran up the stairs toward the nursery, tripped and fell head first into a console table in the hallway. With blood dripping from eye, I lay on the floor crying as Janet stood above me with shrieking baby.
She leaned over, lifted my face and inspected my eye. "You need to slow down, Michelle. Relax. Get some ice. I'll feed Sasha."
Part of me wanted to do just that. Relax. Take care of myself. Tend to my wounds. But I didn't want to let Sasha down when he was clearly demanding my love and care. I wanted to be there for him. I wanted to be the kind of mother that I'd always needed.
Janet lay her hand on my shoulder. "All will be well."
The signifance of her words, those perfect words, rolled through me. I let her help me up and drew Sasha to me. Janet was the kind of mother I needed. Her hand remained on my shoulder as I fed my baby and the blood slipped down across my cheeks.
With a good mother by your side, all will be well.