Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby Addiction

Hi, I'm a new mom and I have a baby addiction.

Hi, new mom.

It started out innocently enough - the first few days after she was born I was uncomfortable going anywhere (in my own house) that was far from her, for fear she would start to scream and need to be fed immediately.

It turned into a nervous internal voice waking me up to turn on her little SnuggleNest light to make sure she was a) still breathing; and b) not gagging on her own spit up.

Now, it's gotten to the point where yesterday, when hubster took a nap upstairs with said baby and left me downstairs, I made food, cleaned some stuff up and then had no idea what I should be doing.

For me, this is different than the idea of baby as narcotic (see this great article sent to me by another new mom friend: Katie Roiphe: My Newborn Is Like a Narcotic. This isn't necessarily something pleasurable - it just is.

The article got me thinking. Yeah, I call myself a feminist and have done so for a long time (feminism - the other f word). Yeah, I'm taking a significant chunk of time off from work, more than I have taken since I started working some decade and a half ago. Yeah, my plans after that aren't even firm enough to be called plans, just ideas about what life could be like if this, this and this happened.

So, yeah, a lot of which which I'd based my personal sense of strong and female on in the past has been twisted into a new form of my life. I haven't yet gotten friendly enough with this new life to figure out why it is uniquely female and inherently strong.

Right now, my baby addiction is functional - I need to do things for this baby to make sure it lives and grows and thrives and bonds with me. When I'm not there, I worry I'm losing those chances to build that deep bond and trust that will benefit both me and this child as she grows. I know, and I hope, that soon that addiction will change into something more like the pleasure high from a narcotic.

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