The In-Arms Phase: Thoughts on Being an Attached MumBy Martine de Luna
I wrote the following post exactly two years ago. Today, my son is almost three years old, but I’m as attached to him as ever. We still co-sleep, for one thing, and we take a little time each day to engage in our own little version of homeschool. I’m glad that, as a mom who works from home, I can practice attachment in my own way. I’m choosing to savor these early years and extend them for as long as I can. Because before I know it, my little boy won’t be so little anymore.
I have a great mom. I think I had a great mom even before I was born, being that she stopped working full-time so she could raise me full-time. Even as an accomplished interior designer with her own business, her own crew of workers and a client list whose hefty pockets would more than compensate for family expenses, she gave it all up to bring me up.
I often wondered how Mom managed to leave behind such a lucrative career to stay at home and be a full-time mother. But I stopped pondering over this sentiment the moment I went back to work and felt what it was like to be away from my baby, even for a few hours. When I’d walk home from work mid-day to breastfeed him and spend with him however much time my lunch break afforded me, I’d always feel an invisible tug in my heart to stay with him, bring him with me, keep him close to me.
I mentioned in a previous post (on my blog) about my convictions when it comes to raising my child. While I am a first-time mother, I believe all mothering is intuitive, and that every woman with a child has the capacity to raise that child in the best way possible. I don’t believe that any mother, no matter how “anti-child” she was before giving birth, is inherently ignorant about how to care for her baby. Perhaps that’s just my opinion, which is understandable coming from a girl who’s always wanted to have children.
But, after seeing several friends transformed by motherhood, I can very clearly see the distinction between a woman who wants to have a baby and a woman who wants to mother, to nurture, to bring up a child. They’re two very different things.
Oh, I have nothing against mommies who go the “yaya way” simply because I have maaaaaad respect for nannies who know what they’re doing. I loved my own yaya in my childhood. But in practicing attachment parenting from the very start, I have seen the difference it makes for my baby and the difference it makes for me. With no yaya, no nanny, just me, Daddy and baby, we have an unspoken bond and special relationship that only a triune union like ours can understand.
I’ve read over and over Lindloff’s theories about having your baby close to you, participating in what you’re doing while on a sling or pouch. I do this with my son, and notice that he is happiest, most alert, most quiet and most responsive when in such a position. I know it is doing wonders for his development, cognitively, emotionally, physically even. When he’s worn close to me, he’s not just secure, but I’m affirmed as a provider, protector, a mother and a woman.
Maybe a big part of the in-arms phase is not for the benefit of the child alone, but for the peace of mind and serenity of the parents. Yes, the same goes for my husband too, who is a work-at-home dad and who is every bit involved in the rearing, cuddling, bathing, playing experiences of our baby.
My conclusion: Parenting is exciting. Attachment, though, is enriching.
*** This article was first published in Dainty Mom blog, in May, 2010.***
September 4, 2012 by guest