Eat, Play, Love

Eat.

I have video footage of my baby crying while nursing my left tit because I have almost no milk. She had better luck on the right, but not much. I won’t go into the details of how awful breastfeeding has been, but suffice it to say that it’s been both physically and emotionally painful for both me and my kid.

Now at 5 months, she’s almost exclusively formula fed. I have one last bottle of breast milk left, and I think I’ll cry when I feed it to her. The few successful breastfeedings were profoundly sweet. In those moments, I felt like a mom. But still, quitting will be a relief. But also sad. But also a relief.

 

Play.

The truth is that I don’t know how to interact with infants. Don’t get me wrong: I took great care of her and held her almost constantly when she was teeny tiny, but infants are incredibly stupid, and playing with an infant isn’t much different from playing with a bale of hay. You get about as much reciprocity: no eye contact and none of that cuddling that you imagine happens between mother and child. I tried to play with her as best I could, but really she was just a lot of noise and shitty diapers.

This changed over the last couple of months, and the 5-month mark was a special turning point. She laughs freely now, and it’s easy to get her to smile. We spend a lot of time dancing around and roughhousing; she likes getting thrown in the air, getting tickled, and when I fling her upside-down. Sometimes our games make her throw up, but bales of hay don’t throw up, so we’re moving in the right direction. And I’m having fun.

 

Love.

For these and other reasons (hello, 5 hours of sleep!), parenting has gotten easier, but to be honest, there remains a bit of discord in our relationship: I’m not sure if I’m fully bonded with my kid, and I can’t help but feel that it’s because of the egg donation thing.

I don’t know how parental love is supposed to feel, and maybe this is it. You hear about rainbows and unicorns popping out of women’s vaginas together with their spawn, and all that came with my baby was blood and slime, so it’s hard for me to tell.

It’s possible that this emotional barrier is just a part of my psychology because of my broken upbringing. My childhood had a good bit of neglect and some physical abuse, so I might feel this way no matter how my child came about. I tried to flesh it out in therapy, but when I asked my therapist why I was feeling this lack of connection, she said that the why didn’t matter and that I just needed to work on increasing my capacity for intimacy. (Intimacy issues? That’s real original, Therapy. You fucking whore.)

I do really like spending time with the kid, but as often as not, I look at her like I’m not sure who she is. But maybe that’s normal. Or maybe it’s not. What the hell do I know? I still can’t believe that the hospital let me take her home, to be honest. I mean, they don’t even know me.

Hell. I don’t know me.

About TG

My eggs don't work, so I've manifested a baby via egg donation. Let's blog and see what happens.
This entry was posted in Donor Egg Parenting, My Head, Parenting, Things Past and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Eat, Play, Love

  1. Beldee says:

    Well, it’s so hard to know! I am a lesbian and the one that didn’t carry our child, plus not genetically related. I felt my partner was more immediately connected in that rainbows and unicorns way and I put that down to hormones and physical connection all the way through from conception. It’s so hard to say. I know I am aware of being the non-bio mum, and maybe that makes me sensitive or more attuned to what’s going on in terms of intimacy and connection. I had a hardcore protector thing going on, and I held him whenever I could to build connection. Our son is 3 now, and it changes all the time, which amazes me. Sometimes I feel incredibly connected and watch him adoringly and feel enormous love. And other times, when he is trying my patience for days on end it’s much harder to feel connected, although naturally I am, it’s just way more trying. So your bale of hay analogy may yet return when your child gets stroppy and temperamental!

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    • TG says:

      Great comment. I feel like you must be right: that my baby and I will go through our ups and downs, and I’ll never quite know if there’s a root source for the downs. I also imagine that my stupid therapist is right, and that I might need to do more stupid therapy – that maybe some personal inquiry will keep the downs from being super low. Anyhow, thanks for posting. I appreciate your openness.

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      • Beldee says:

        That was my first comment ever : ) Yeah, therapy, might uncover it. Stupid therapy. I hope it helps you with the ‘intimacy’ aspect. Incidentally, on the connection subject, when I am feeling a bit too much like the ‘other’ mother I get a bit distant. And my son loves attention and play and fun, so when I distance myself it’s sort of blocking connection. But anyway, I enjoy your blog. I like your sense of realism! I haven’t found that on too many blogs. So I look forward to reading how things change as your baby grows up.

        Like

  2. I love this post, your honesty, your voice, your humor.

    Like

  3. Pam says:

    The love grows. I can’t remember the moment I began to love, really love, my first, because it was a whirlwind few months of hormones and trauma after an emergency hysterectomy following her birth. My son was born to a surrogate. Although there were still many messy emotions in those early days (after three years and tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments I actually wondered whether I’d thought the entire thing through), my mind was clearer in those first months. There was a day when I realized, around the time he was five or six months old, that I really loved this child.

    Today my daughter is almost eight years old and I can say right now I am in an intense period of love with her. There’s something happening lately where she’s always on my mind and I want to hold her close. There are definite peaks and valleys.

    And please, don’t toss the baby too much.

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    • TG says:

      Ha! I never let her out of my hands, I assure you!

      And thanks for sharing your experience and perspective. It’s so helpful to hear. I can’t tell you how I appreciate it.

      Like

  4. TeeJay says:

    I did not have a nurturing mother growing up. I wasn’t raised by my mother. I was raised by my father and step-mother. We were not a physically or emotionally touchy feely kind of family. I think that your feelings of distance could absolutely be from your own upbringing and maybe not so much the egg donation angle. I often times catch myself being very robotic with my daughter and it sort of saddens me. I think I actually exert extra effort to make sure that I have that emotional bond with her that I did not have at home (or with my mother). I think what you are feeling is normal. Those early months of non-interaction are really rough. I mean, we do EVERYTHING for them and they just lay there and cry. Once they start interacting it gets much better. We also had a rough time with breastfeeding and that didn’t help matters. It brought out all of my insecurities and my hatred of my body for not doing what it was supposed to do. I’m sorry that you are having a rough time with breastfeeding. I think once you close that chapter you might start to feel a little differently about your relationship with your daughter. It will get better and you will find that the more you get to know her the more you will love her. It might not be a sunshine and unicorn love, but you will know it and it will overwhelm you.

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  5. Pingback: Gray Matters | A Chick and Eggs

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