Sometimes at night when I am extremely sleep deprived and a little high, I wonder when my life will go beyond the four posts of my bed. Although I was not confined to the bed during pregnancy, I did spend a big chunk of time there to rest and sleep. And during the newborn phase, its like I am shackled to the bed (we co-sleep). I subscribe to attachment parenting so I believe in being close to my newborn as much as I can. With Livia, she was on me or her dad 24/7. This is difficult to do with the triplets, so for them, they are always next to us or close to us. The constant self-denial of my life to serve their needs sometimes gets to me. Like sometimes I would like to just read one newspaper article without being summoned by someone’s crying. With a singleton, the constant self-denial is bad, but with three newborns, its never ending. I feel reduced, small, belittled (yes, belittled), although everyone else calls me supermom. I feel that life is a lot bigger than the four posts of my bed. But we all know why I do this, they are small, they need me and their dad. Their world is even smaller than mine and my body is all they know for comfort whether its is my heartbeat, my voice, my smell or my milk.
I came across this beautiful poem, The Fifth Child by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton, and I dedicate it to all parents of newborns, whether you are juggling just one, three or five. The poem “honors the everyday efforts of motherhood. It honors the sacred in the mundane and the tensions that pull at us all as mothers. Bills, errands and housework will always be there and yet we must rock while we can.”
Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)
Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.