Friday, April 29, 2016

Age 4: Do not Panic, My Newborn

by Dr Margaret Aranda

One of the most wondrous events in a lifetime is being a mom...and bringing home your very own newborn baby from the hospital. You do not need a "Mom License" or a "Newborn License" or a "Parent's License" or any proof at all that you are to be trusted with this little, helpless newborn who depends on you for his/her very life. How does anyone know that you will love your own flesh and blood?

Trepidly and distinctly, I recall leaving the hospital doors as a new mom, with each of my two newborn babies who are separated by about twenty years. Both times, it was exactly the same kind of 'mom' love. Wondrous. Enormous. Spectacular. Speechless.

Moments turned into days, days turned into years, and in this story, we are at 4 years of age with my second baby, a girl. All I could hear was her screams, all bloody, horrible screams.


It was just a few minutes after polishing my nails that I heard it. 

It was as if my mom breast milk was going to start leaking uncontrollable milk for the love of the newborn that she used to be. Reflexively, my body reacted to her instinctually, as if she was four days old, not four years old. The "mother" in me longed to run to her, to touch her ​​skin, to hold her and love her and tell all that everything was okay. I needed to feel her skin: skin contact so my brain could release endorphins that would satiate my body from the withdrawals of each contact. The 'Mommy Love' was a brand of its own, nothing that could be described or replaced. 

"Wa-aaa-ahh!" "Mo-mmy!"

I ran to the bathroom door, white and tall. And locked. I checked it again. It was really locked.

Image 1. The Bathroom Door. Locked inside was my newborn baby I loved so much. 
I knelt on the carpet outside, figuring out a way to coax this former newborn away from the gripping hands of panic and toward rationality, so she could simply unlock the door. 
It seemed so simple. But my hands were sweating. 

She was just four years old, wailing like she was dying, one fingernail at a time. Again, my newborn "Mommy breasts" still wanted to drip milk onto my shirt, drop by drop. I felt it.

"Do not panic!" I said, with my mouth by the doorknob, squishing my lips in the tiny airspace therein. "Use your head!"

"Wa-aaa-ahh Mommy!" Louder now, as if I never said one word. 

How was she ever going to hear me if she was screaming so loud? This was my conundrum. It was double sided: I wanted all quiet for myself and for all, and I was also desperate to quiet all down, lest the neighbors thought that I was a Mommy Torturing the poor girl!  Despite all, the screams Continued. And Continued.....

Actually, then they became 'wails.' Worse than screams. "Wa-aaa -Ahh!" "Wa-aaa-ahh!" ... And the louder "Wa-AAA-AHHH!" I called this "Level Two" crying. It carries a more 'newborn',  deeper, more primal 'blown-away' effect.  Then, to my great chagrin, the "Mo-mmy!" turned into "MAMA-MAMA !!" I NEED you! "Mmmm-mmmm-mmmm-mmmmm!" Oh, my. It melted my very Mommy soul, with the same exact effect of looking at her as a newborn for the first time. It just melted my love, my spirit, and my helpless soul.

For a full five minutes, it continued. I had sweat under my arms too, now, and I just wanted to take a breath so I could get all of two words out. "Do not panic! Use your head!"

Finally, finally, finally, when we were both so spent that it hurt to be so breathless, she talked to me. She was listening now. Oh! Oh my! OH MY GOSH! The time was finally here!

"Huh?" In all, I calmed down too. I told her to put her fingers on that thingie that stuck out over the lock. "Huh?" I explained that it had to turn 'sideways' instead of 'up and down'. I felt so stupid explaining this to a 4-year old. How was she going to understand? I calmly talked her through it and suddenly, 'Pop! ' the door opened.

She flew into my arms, along with the sunshine from the room, sweaty, red-faced, panicked, shaking, covered in a cloud of effort like Pigpen from Peanuts, and still so dependent on her Mommy, just like a newborn. 

I told her, "YOU did it!" "YOU figured it out!" "YOU are so smart!" as each whimpering and shaking continued to consume every breath. Beforehand, they rose and continued from the pillar of fear that had rendered her so helpless and so alone, to be rendered inert. Helpless. Stuck. Alone. Afraid. Now, her fears were gone, banished to go under the beds and into the dark shadows, forever jailed and never to return.

And I saw all of the "newborn babies" that every mother sees in every child, no matter how old each baby is. And I understood what it really, really meant to give up your life for your baby, as a mother. We live and love for them. We put them first. We cast aside our own Mommy desires. We strive to give them the Mommy lessons and the lives that we never had. We want them to come to us, to love us just as we could never go to our own moms. I never, ever, ever want to lose her, or hurt her, or cause her not to trust me; not in any way.

And I hugged her tightly, and I said, "I'm never going to let you go!" 

Image 2. Mother:Daughter bond. Unconditional love, forever.

It was as if nothing in the world could be any better at this very moment.

Because nothing in this world was better at this moment, 
and I could not keep it, even by writing it down to share it with you.
It's in my heart and in my brain. It lives on forever.

Maybe when she is a teenager, she can look back at this and know how much I loved her.
Or maybe when she has her own newborn, the epiphany will "shine" and 
she will finally, finally, understand me, her own Mommy who loves her so much.

No. No matter what, I know that no one can take that "newborn" in her away from me. 
I am her Mommy and she is my daughter, my newborn.
It lives on forever, with a life of its own.

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