“Mamma”, an Imperative Verb
One thing that’s been nice about being home alone with baby while hubs was caring for father in law for a week was seeing how I’m enough to keep her happy and content.
That might seem obvious to many people but it wasn’t to me for a long time post partum. And post partum depression is sneaky: you don’t notice feeling depressed; you just “know” you’re failing as a mom. You worry your child doesn’t love you, because how could they?
It feels so real.
Fuelling this belief was that the baby seemed to light up for everyone but me with smiles when she was small. She delighted in the faces of her grandparents and especially papa. But seemed to almost never notice me.
It took me a long time to realise that she didn’t realise we were separate being yet. She wasn’t reacting to me because I was the default. I was part of her, in her mind.
And later, when she started to realise she was her own person, I was oxygen. The thing that is always around and you never question being there for you. We are never thankful for oxygen unless we’ve known it’s absence.
The realisation I had that week was that I was not feeling like a good mom because I was being a good mom; always present and safe and secure for her.
My baby rarely says “mama” because I’m already near by. Instead, “mama” is a verb to her. It means “give me comfort, security, and maybe also sleepiness”. And she says it very infrequently, because I’m on it.
All the signs I thought meant I was failing were signs I was doing a damn good job.
Brains lie. Hang in there, mamma. You’re doing great.