The Transformation into Motherhood

bonding The transformation into motherhood is profound. The physical, psychological, emotional, social, as well as, the relationship with your intimate partner-transforms. Everything changes. Because the transformation is so profound; the mother needs time to process and articulate what exactly has changed. The pregnancy, birth, and the aftermath is rapid, and jolting.

If a mother gives birth to her baby rather than adopts, the baby develops while her body adapts, and as the body adapts–psychic changes occur. The mother and baby ‘talk’ through unconscious communication. The interaction of the two is a unique, universal dance that happens but once. If the mother adopts or has a surrogate mother give birth to her baby, the transformation is similar with the exception of the physical. Before a baby is born, all mothers have a relationship with their babies. Mothers imagine their babies. The birth of the baby transforms the imagined relationship into a real relationship.

duck and ducklingIt is now widely known, accepted, and documented that infants once born recognize their mothers. The speculation is that through their sensory apparatus they know, instinctually, who has nurtured them during their time in the womb. Babies want their mothers. And mothers want their babies. Mothers who adopt will also feel the instinctive pull to bond and nurture. Many women experience a faux-pregnancy: real sensations that seem as if one is pregnant. Our minds are able to convince our bodies of many sensations.

A mother and a newborn will be completely engrossed with each other for some time. This first phase of symbiosis lasts for about 6 weeks. Day and night, and night and day are not quite sorted out for the infant. In addition, the baby will consume nutrients (some form of milk), roughly every 3-4 hours. Mother, especially if she is breast feeding, is interrupted from her sleep quite frequently. Life is about the baby’s needs and mother is tuned in to the baby’s distress signals since she has been communicating with her baby for nine months. Mother knows best for now.

And Dad, what can his role be if mother and child are in this phase of symbiosis for some time? Father plays the crucial role of protector of mother and baby. He shields them from the outside world. His role is to ensure that mother’s needs are met, therefore she can meet the newborn’s needs. He is there to provide a barrier from the outside world mother, baby, father, grandmotherand a cocoon for the bond to occur between mother and infant. But father also needs nurturing and help; ideally, this is where the extended family can help. There are no fast and hard rules: father needs support and the home may need some tending while mother is busy with baby.

A wise woman who lived to 102 years of age quipped, when asked what advice would she give a new mother,

“I can tell you what was told to me: ‘don’t be afraid to pick up the baby whenever she cries; and don’t wash her too much.’ ”

You cannot spoil an infant. Get as much rest as possible. Good luck and if you need help-ask!

 

 

“Sigh No More”

Please read the previous blog,’In Search of the ‘One’: the poem below will resonate better. If you prefer songs of unrequited love: there are numerous. “Cecilia” by Simon & Garfunkel or something more recent perhaps, such as Adele’s song,”Set Fire to the Rain” may inspire you as well.

Shakespeare’s poem is about converting the pain and suffering to self-love and joy. So dance, sing, and laugh. The pain of being alone can be very real and powerful, but it isn’t unique. The conversion from pain to serenity will happen-in time. Sigh no more.

Sigh No More

By William Shakespeare

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more.
    Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into hey nonny, nonny.
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe
    Of dumps so dull and heavy.
The fraud of men was ever so
    Since summer first was leafy.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into hey, nonny, nonny.

In Search of the “One”

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When single, it is often a challenge to meet that special someone who will fulfill one’s dreams, desires and, of course, there are the more practical issues to consider–similar values and goals. So where and how does one find that special someone who could be the ‘whole package’?

Many people will talk of why they should look for someone to be a partner with, usually it goes something like this, “I will be less lonely: I will have the family I always longed for.” But the how often remains more elusive.

People often have lists of where they may go to meet that special someone. Online dating seems to be very popular; going to the gym, bar, art galleries, even the supermarket may be on the list. But other questions abound: Should I be more flirtatious? Should I impress more? Should I call more, or less, or not at all? The questions are endless and lead nowhere and everywhere.

So let me introduce you to Marilyn. She is an intelligent, attractive, and charming young woman. She meets many men that could be potential good partners. She states that her suitors are interested in going beyond the casual dating situation with her. But one by one, they somehow do not meet the grade. Marilyn begins to feel frustrated and eventually saddened. “I will live a life of loneliness,” she laments.

One day Marilyn meets Lawrence. He is enthralled with her beauty and intelligence. Marilyn wonders what is wrong with him? How can he be that enthralled in such a short time. It just can’t be so? Marilyn creates a wall, a barrier, a gigantic sign that states, “there’s something wrong with you for admiring me?” But he reads the sign as, “I don’t like you, nor want you.” Lawrence feels discouraged and decides that he is going about dating all wrong. He decides not to pursue Marilyn- not because he isn’t interested in her, but because he believes that he simply is not up to snuff.

Marilyn, unbeknownst to herself, is disparaging not to her suitors but to herself. She does not see herself as others see her: attractive, intelligent and interesting. So whoever her suitor may be chances are there will be something wrong with him because there is something wrong with her.

Marilyn is unaware of the fact that the more a man desires her, the less desirable he becomes to her. And the more he retreats from her, the more enticing he becomes. She is in the impossible state of denial and frustration. She lives a life of constant short lived romances, if she manages to get that far with a suitor. The men she does manage to date more than a few times-tend to disappoint her. At times, she will try to convince herself that relationships aren’t that important. But other times, she will look in the mirror and wonder why she isn’t in a relationship yet? The key for Marilyn is to get in touch with a part of herself that is highly critical of herself.

 

 

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“Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).”
―     Milan Kundera   “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”  

The Unbearable Lightness of Being – The Official Trailer

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If you read my earlier blogs of Jeremy and Peggy Sue, you know I have yet to write about Maggie. Briefly, Maggie is in a relationship with Jeremy, who is in a relationship with both Maggie and Peggy Sue.

Maggie has begun to trust her instincts that there is someone else in Jeremy’s love life-Peggy Sue. One day, Maggie confronts Jeremy about her suspicions. Jeremy gets angry, avoids the direct questions and overall is annoyed at the confrontation of whether he is lying about being in a relationship with someone else. After many arguments, Maggie finally presents proof that is undeniable. Is this the pivotal moment in their relationship?

Will he tell the truth and admit that he indeed has been carrying on a relationship with someone else? Can he commit to one woman? Can he commit to the responsible life that he says he wants? Can he forgive himself? Can he leave Peggy Sue once and for all? Or will he chance loosing Maggie?

Moreover, will Maggie forgive him?

Generally, the story goes that Jeremy would prefer to be with Maggie. Once the truth is known, healing can begin. But he has fallen from grace and Maggie will take a very long time to forgive, if ever.

The key to the success in this relationship is forgiveness and the belief that their relationship is worth mending and building. Jeremy’s relationship to Maggie transcends the immediacy of his transitory needs that he fulfills with Peggy Sue. His desire to be with Maggie can be said to be of a spiritual nature. The corporeal is not as important as their transcendence as a union. His love for Maggie is constant. He is aware of his need for her: Maggie inspires him.

Maggie knows she is valuable to him, but is he to her? Can she forgive or will someone else come into her life? She doubts and wonders whether his transgressions will be a pattern. It is he who must work hard to keep Maggie in his life; otherwise, the risk is she will move on. The next relationship for her should be a better one since she is the more integrated of the two or should I say three.

This ends this series of love triangles.

 If you haven’t read “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera-I highly recommend it. It was also made into a movie, well worth watching. I also recommend the movie “The Red Shoes” (1948) for more clarification on triangles in relationship as discussed in the last three posts.

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The Red Shoes, The Choice: The Partner or the Obsession