For all the talk about "bonding" that I'd heard (chest to chest immediately after birth helps with bonding, make sure not to do too much after birth just "bond" with the baby in bed, wearing your baby helps you bond, etc), I didn't get a clear sense about what this bonding was, I just knew that I wanted it. It seemed abstract, "oh sweet, we'll be connected and want to keep each other around". I knew that we would get some addiction hormones immediately post-birth so I wouldn't leave him in the bushes or something, but our "bonding" is actually quite a dependency.
When I think about how to describe it, I am at a loss as to how to differentiate it from other experiences. Just as it feels different to crave sugar, to fantasize about and pine for a cold beer on a hot day, or to yearn for Casey when he's away on a trip--this is a distinct feeling. It is in my body. My mind can stop my behavior, but is weak at stopping the physical want.
I feel like I have a better understanding of what it must be like to be an addict now that I'm a mother. That sounds strange to say, but it's true. I understand withdrawal in a new way.
My entire body misses the baby when I haven't been holding him for a while. If Wesley's been asleep in his co-sleeper for more than a few hours before I go to bed, I get amped up and can't sleep. Even when my mind tells me "no no no, you don't need to pick up that baby, let him sleep", my body says otherwise. I need my fix. I lay there willing it to be otherwise, but my body is humming. I close my eyes. It doesn't help. I am buzzing awake, staring at Wesley.
Sometimes Family Bed just feels so right
Nature perfectly manages this mother-baby need. When I think back to the first few weeks, I couldn't tolerate if he was anywhere but lying on my chest or in my arms for more than a moment. My system would revolt. Now, as his need to explore the world expands, my ability to have him elsewhere has slightly increased. I still get a huge rush of endorphins when I get him back in my arms, and I can't last long, but the expression of our "bonding" is shifting ever so subtly.
Now as daylight begins to creep into the sky, I find my heart racing and I am getting seriously antsy as I wait to shower him with kisses. When will you wake up, sweet boy?