Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Beauty of Instinct

Biology has been on my mind. I would like to think that what happened to me yesterday happens to any new mom, no matter how she became a mom, so I am not sure the biological end is important as I first thought. I had the most intense, physical reaction in response to fear for my child's safety. I have since been both frightened and amazed by my mind and my body's ability to do/feel/sense this. It was all just so bizarre and beautiful and lovely.

It was not a monumental event. My MIL & FIL asked to come for a visit. This weekend was already jammed with visitors so the only day available was friday evening. I agreed reluctantly because I knew FIL had been pretty sick with a cold early in the week. But I assumed D.'s grandparents would remember that a 2 and a half week old baby can not be exposed to sick folks. So when they asked to come, I just assumed everyone was well and over their colds.

So last night DH had just swaddled D. and placed his sleeping cuteness on the couch. I sat beside him, needle felting, attempting to start making christmas gifts. MIL & FIL knock on the door and came in. FIL makes a bee-line for D. and immediately picked up my slumbering bundle. There was no hand washing involved. I am not a super stickler about the hand washing, but they had been to dinner (hand to mouth) and post-sick folks often blow their noses, no? So freaking wash your god damn hands!!! Nope. He just picked him right up.

DH sat between FIL and me on the couch. I busily felted, trying to ignore FIL's hoarseness and how he just generally sounded sick to me - whilst holing my child. I began to just boil. I was nearly twitching. I could not look at him. I was scared. I felted faster. I finally burst by abruptly blurting out, "Are you sure you are ok, because you don't really sound ok.... D. is only two weeks old and I just don't know how to care for a sick baby!" The room seemed to stop for a sec. FIL suggested he could put on a mask he had brought with him. Um, no.


MIL seemed to get it, because not long after she took D. from him and did not let him near him the rest of the evening. I was much calmer.

Call it the "new mom crazies."
Call it overly cautious.
Call it totally rational and just acting on behalf of a child you worked your ass off to birth and love more than life itself.
But who comes to visit a 2 week old baby when they are still clearly not over a cold? Who puts their own want for a visit above the health of a very, very new baby?
I am irrationally upset about it.
I am shocked by my own reaction, which was swift, visceral and intense.
I am shocked to know that I am capable of such instinctual and fierce behavior. I am shocked that I am an animal - I think we all forget this.
No matter how one gets to be a mom, I have no doubt that this mechanism is in full force for most moms. It is a scary and gorgeous thing. And I am glad it is there.


Susanna said...

you're a Mama Bear!

Another Dreamer said...

Wow... glad you MIL at least got it.

Don't want little D sick!

sara said...

You are a good mama protecting her new little one! It's funny how you said it seems animalistic, but isn't it beautiful all at the same time? It's like you just want to hold the little one under your arm and protect them from the world..including family members, LOL! I loved this post- I think it's something any new mom can relate to, especially us crazy infertiles :-)

May said...

Ahh, biology. Gotta love it! (Says the bio professor...)

katie said...

You were so right to feel the way you did. A similar thing happened to me and my MIL with my 3 week old baby, (she had bronchitis, and they were staying with us, she even got on the plane sick...) I found you from the MA yahoo group.

MA resected 10/07, pg 12/07 delivered 8/31/08 CONGRATS to you!!!

Hope no more sickies come visit!

sacredandscarred said...

People are so inconsiderate! Nobody wants to be exposed to their germs, let alone D. Bit rude to pick up your baby without asking isn't it? Pretty selfish for them to come at all when sick.

You are totally normal and connected to your baby :)

I have had similar reactions with both my bio and non-bio babies.

KatieM said...

Oh, I know this feeling...happened to me in the hospital. Now, I would say overall I am a pretty laid back Mom. I really don't have a problem with people I know holding him.....except for my MIL and her crazy ass sister.

Picture this: The day I had Cullen, 8 hours post surgery, 30 minutes before visiting hours MIL and her sister come bouncing (and I do mean bouncing) into my room unannounced laughing and carrying on like they were drunk (um, hello, you are on a MATERNITY ward...shut the hell up) and my husbands Aunt grabs my baby and starts bouncing him from right to left (and I mean large, jerky movements away from her body). I immediately felt like THAT and looked at my Mom (who later said my eyes looked scared and angry) and she intervened by offering the crazy lady to sit in her seat (which thank god she accepted). Oh, and my MIL...I get that feeling EVERY time she holds him.

It is amazing how fast and fierce that feeling arises huh?