My little Angel lays suckling at my left breast, the perfect picture of contentment, chubby fingers playing with the folds of my tummy. Beads of sweat glistening on her rounded forehead, her sign of a satisfying breastfeed.
Our baby girl when she was little over a month old
Laying propped up among pillows in a position I can find even when half asleep in the earliest hours of the night, those days of early motherhood seem a fond distant memory. Do any of you remember or are going through the fumbling moments, mother and baby learning how to navigate the breast and nipple? Trying to remember all the tips the nurse showed you or you read on the internet about “latching”? Ah the beautiful dance of a labour-&-delivery-wearied mama with her struggling bundle of hungry lips, upraised chin and closed eyes.
Motherhood has proven to be the most challenging, but utterly hands down, the most rewarding stage of my life so far. Even in those first few months of motherhood surviving on little to no sleep, yet finding the strength and happiness in getting up at the slightest wimper of the newest addition to the family. The joy I felt when even from her first month, my baby girl recognized me from my presence in the room. My Nigerian mum-in-law kept saying our baby ” can smell my breastmilk” and encouraged me to sleep with her on the bed during the day will help her sleep better enveloped in the reassuring scent of her mama’s milk.
There is nothing that compares to the overwhelming love of a mother for her child. It is the closest we can ever get on Earth to God’s unconditional love for us. As humans, we love, usually expecting to be reciprocated in return in one form or another. Many married and long term couples will have to admit to agonizingly crushing experiences when our spouse or lover repeatedly disappoints or falls short of our expectations.
The joy of just watching your baby’s chest rise and fall as they sleep, rosy cheeks and closed eyes in a blissful expression of deep slumber. The rush of oxytocin, the heady feeling of warmth and unexplainable, overwhelming love as you look down at your child suckling at your breast. Carrying this precious child for nine months, going through hells doors and back to birth them and then caring for their every need, expecting nothing in return. Yet all it takes for that gummy filled smile and us moms swell up with pride, like we have won the most prestigious award on the planet!
When I became a mother, I also experienced my mother’s love in a whole new dimension and appreciation. My tiny built Asian mum is the epitome of strength and support. Even though our baby girl’s approaching a year, my mum still fusses and buys food stuffs and calls daily and makes frequent visit similar to when I just gave birth. She even built the nerve to finally drive on the highway when we moved house. Those of us who have had the pleasure of driving or being on the roads in Nigeria would understand the sheer guts it would take to go behind the wheel here. Its also amusing to see my mum blossom in her new “grandma” role.
Proud grandma on Christmas day
With Valentines day approaching, lots of money will be spent and made. Hearts will soar, hearts will break. Relationships will shatter for some, proposals will matter for others. Yet I am perplexed to why a most fulfilling love is nowhere highly celebrated. Though in a way I am glad one of the most amazing expressions of love isn’t nearly as commercialized and trivialized even on mothers day.
Surrounded by reminders of Valentines day, those of my readers who are single, please don’t feel depressed. Valentines day is supposed to be a celebration of love and you need to be aware of and appreciate other forms of love in your life: your parents’ amazing love & support, your siblings, even friendships.
And I am not totally disillusioned because now our precious baby girl is in her angelic cute phase but there will come a time she grows up, and disappoints and will test the limit of this seemingly infinite supply of mothers love. But for now, let the world be a better place as we honor and appreciate the mothers we know.