A moment in time shoots straight through Nicky’s heart.
It was an overcast Saturday afternoon, the day before my first Mother’s Day as a Mum, and we were coming off the back of a week of sleepless nights … and days.
My husband had just left for work and would only be home in the early hours of the morning. The hours stretched out in front of me like a long, deserted highway.
The night before, Mum had come over during the ‘witching hour’ as I tried, in vain, to settle my daughter. I had been feeding, rocking, patting, and feeding some more for hours and still she wailed, inconsolable. Mum kept glancing worriedly at me as I went through the motions of putting baby on my breast, burping her, wrapping her, rocking her, unwrapping her and putting her on the breast again as she cried and cried and cried. I did not make eye contact with my baby, I most definitely did not goo and gaa. My voice was flat, my eyes hard. I was exhausted, beaten.
Mum suggested perhaps trying formula, intimated that my husband could do more to help me (he was doing everything and more to support me) – “what about a night nurse to help you settle her?” Through gritted teeth I thanked her for her suggestions, declined them, said that she was my child, my responsibility, and I’d push through it. Eventually she settled and I collapsed into bed.
I was midway through making coconut ice for Mum for Mother’s Day – going shopping for a present simply wasn’t an option this year – when my baby woke, demanding, as usual, to be fed that very instant. I’d never made coconut ice before, but quickly realised I had a very small window before it set, and that window wouldn’t allow for an hour-long breastfeed. Feeling horribly guilty as she screamed, I hurriedly layered the sticky mess into a pan and popped it in the fridge before sprinting to the bedroom, boobs out and dripping, to feed my daughter.
We settled into the feed, and as I took her off my breast to burp her, we locked eyes, as we had many times before, a precious moment between mother and baby, but this time, something happened.
As she looked at me adoringly with shining eyes, nothing but love and complete trust in her gaze, a wide, gummy smile spreading across her face, my breath caught, and I began to cry.
Much to my surprise, I hadn’t really cried since she was born. I thought I’d definitely cry when I met her for the first time, but felt only ecstasy and pure joy.
And yet here I was, seven weeks since the birth of my baby, halfway through a feed like any other, Bob Marley’s ‘Could You Be Loved’ on glockenspiel playing in the background, the tears streaming down my face, my heart bursting with love for my child.
In my tracksuit pants which really needed a wash (as did my hair), I laughed and cried and laughed and cried, overwhelmed by the enormity of the love I was feeling, and sheer gratitude.
The frustration and sleepless nights quickly became a distant memory, insignificant, as I silently gave thanks for the gift of my child and the love in my heart.
Nicky has worn many hats in her time, but is about to don the most important: becoming a Mum. A nomadic childhood sparked in her an insatiable urge to travel and explore the world. In between adventures (and when she ran out of money) she returned to Australia to build a career in film marketing with stints at SBS’s World Movies Channel, the ABC, Icon Films and Moonlight Cinema. A passion for languages and teaching recently took her down the path of teaching Communications and Management at several universities and English as a Second Language to her fellow itinerants. She’s finally decided to sit still long enough to have a baby (her boldest journey yet) and is excited to have you along for the ride. Nicky can be contacted at: nickysandler[at]gmail[dot]com
Life Balance = Love. Nature. Cups of tea.