August 20, 2006

In response to this by Her Bad Mother. Her post on not knowing how to write about her child's physical beauty and her love and response to that beauty is as touching and eloquent as anything I could ever hope to say. I do feel like I have something to add to the discussion...

In the 16 months since O's birth, I have yet to fully wrap my mind around the physical experience that I had bringing her into the world. It was a Journey and was unlike anything I could have imagined it to be. I still don't have the words to express what it meant to me, all that I thought or felt when it was happening. There truly were moments when I felt like a portal, THE portal, like my body was being used for some greater purpose, THE greater purpose. When O was finally here, with her tiny body and big eyes, her silky dark hair and pursed lips, when everything was OK with her and she was in our arms, she felt like magic, the reward at the end of that epic journey. Her physicality was delicious and as perfect as anything I had ever known. Before she became real to me as a person, my child, my daughter, she was a physical manifestation of all that her father and I had hoped for and wondered about during our wait for her. And I felt so physically attached to her, knew her so intimately, it was like seeing a part of myself from a vantage point that I had never had before. I was aware and thankful for my body, her body, bodies in general in a new way.

As she has gotten older, O has shown herself to be very much her own child. She is affectionate and loving, likes to be held and was not so long ago still nursing, so our physical contact is abiding and rewarding and deep, but she has also begun to seperate from me in new ways. She pushes away or asks for me to put her down so that she can explore. I revel in this, her learning how to use her body, move herself through her world. I am touched by the scrapes and bruises she gets from tumbling. No longer a symbol of creation or new life, she is a child now, moving further from the womb and breast every day. I know that the time when I am allowed to nurture her physically, tend to and protect her body, knowing it better than she herself does, is short. I try to memorize her smell, the shape of her jaw or how her hand feels in mine. It's impossible.

HBM writes about the fear of being misinterpreted, the fear that her words about the sensuality of her child and their relationship will be sexualized. And god knows that many people would be quick to do so. Mothers, and even more so fathers, are treading delicate ground in talking about their feelings about their children's bodies. But one of the things that is most powerful and awe-inspiring about the way that I feel about O and our physical relationship is that it is such a passion, such a need to reach and touch and be and feel, but it is pure in a way that no other physical relationship I have ever had has been. It is not tied up with any kind of agenda, no politics, no fear of rejection. It just is, primal and perfect.

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Anonymous alish said...

beautiful. i have printed this out and plan to one day tell ivy that i wrote it. thanks!

8:50 PM  
Blogger tania (urban_mommy) said...

Beautifully written. I especially like the description of being THE portal for THE purpose. I relate to that.

7:23 AM  
Blogger soleclaw said...

"Primal and perfect," indeed.

You hit the nail right on the head. Especially when you said, "it was like seeing a part of myself from a vantage point that I had never had before." I feel the same way, hyperaware of myself and who I am to my child.

3:16 PM  

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