Posted July 5, 2009on:
it was thursday and we were at the mall, May and I. She had a decent 1 hour nap, and we were on our way home, a short 5-10 min drive. wouldn’t you know it, May started crying in her car seat and was inconsolable. nuh uh. no way, no how. i was hungry, wistfully thinking of a soft pretzel, and her crying was grating my nerves. so instead of turning into our street, i went on into town to get my pretzel, and May cried for a few more blocks, then i cant remember whether she stop-started or stop-stopped. pardon my postpartum memory loss. all i remember is, we went into central market house, May was very happy because she got to people watch. i got my pretzel, and got in line for fried chicken too. The line was long, but May soon fell asleep in the moby. She didn’t cry on our way back.
i am not a jellymom, not a jelly-hearted type of person. I thought, before motherhood, that if anything can turn me jellyhearted, it would be motherhood or nothing. It’ seems that the answer is nothing. Her crying doesn’t pain me in an empathetic way. It does pain me, physically. It gives me a headache, as I hate noise. My response to May’s crying tends to be pacifying in nature. I don’t choose to let her cry most of the time to protect my own nerves and sanity, not because it bleeds my heart. sometimes I catch myself saying to her “tho^i de.p ddi ma'” Not that I’m always annoyed. Other times, I feel a sense of injustice done if I simply let her cry, because I think she doesn’t know better. I feel like I bully her if I don’t respond lovingly to her pleads for help. So I would pick her up or entertain her or do whatever it takes to soothe. That’s why I am so skeptical when I hear others saying that their children’s cries break their heart. I just don’t have the capability to feel such emotion, so I don’t believe 🙂
On the other hand, people who tell me i should let May cry it out does not gain my approval because this method does not guarantee anything. Yeah, she could give up and learn to self soothe, OR it can go horribly wrong and I end up with a kid who cries even harder and more often. And that would be me reaping the full consequence. I’m talking about me here, the one who used to be on both the pills and using condom, just to be safe, so yeah, if there’s no warantee on something as volatile as an infant, I’d rather use my own judgment. Though, appearances can be deceptive ( i know this is a fragment!). So far many people have come to swear that i’m spoiling May, or as Les would put it, she has me. I just smile. I stress about her naps and her health in the same way. Not because I have a Jesus-bleeding-heart, but because I don’t want to deal with the “other” consequence. Like what if she lacks sleeps and get mental retardation?? Or what if she gets diseases due to stress of not having slept enough and hence a weakened immune system? I sit and think about these things a lot. When I bathe her, I would clean her tiny lady’s part, and then I would think of all the fuckers who rape young children; then I just know what would happen if anything like that should happen to May. I would just have to ensure that animal die painfully and violently, so I prayed that I can keep her safe in her youth. I think most things that can make a jellyhearted mom weep or bleed tears, I respond with either violence or fear of having to reap a bad consequence. It’s not guilt, not the way I see it. I just don’t want to know that I contribute to a consequence that would make my life less comfortable than what I currently have.
Motherhood, so far, to me, can be summed up in those words. I don’t want to create any bad consequence that i will have to look back in regret and say to myself, geez, if only I did X,Y,Z, then I wouldn’t have this consequence now. It’s the compass north of my life, act as not to regret. I’m still me, essentially. I’m just preoccupied by handfuls of babbles, lots of smiles, and mountains of dirty diapers for the time being.
Kinda scary, but I used to operate pretty similarly with the cats – I cared for them as best as I knew how because I didn’t want things to get ugly, but when May arrived, I just found them to be annoyances and no longer care about the consequences. The worse case scenario that they could die no longer bother me. The reason is simple, they disturbed May’s sleep. It’s a bit sad, the other day, I looked at what I used to put in my profile (interests: books, cooking, cats…) and thought to myself, I should remove cats. I don’t seem to be interested in cats at all right now. I pity them occasionally, when I have had a satisfactory bowel movement, May remains peacefully asleep, and I see one of the cats passing by, looking forlorn like a shipwreck.