Thursday, 31 October 2013


On the baby-feed graveyard shift. So tired. My eyelids like lead weights I turn on the lamp. The baby makes his keening sounds of hunger from the crib as I fumble for my nipple guard (guardian angel of nipples) and stumble to the bathroom for a glass of water to staunch my thirst. The immense, desert-dry thirst of breastfeeding. 
As I unswaddle him his little arms and legs rail and pump like furious pistons, and his lips form an upside down U of total desolation as he gears up for a full bodied cry. The heat of his body under the blankets always shocks me; how can this tiny being contain such a powerful thermostat? As I cradle him in my weary arms he planks his body and struggles with unbridled fury. MILK. WHERE IS MY MIIIIIIIIIIIIILK????????

As I put him to my breast he seizes my nipple with the urgency of a lion bringing down its prey. His need is palpable, insistent, almost frightening. The drive to feed is primitive; just like the lion he knows that if he does not feed he will die. He drinks thirstily, greedily, his lips rolled back against my skin. He sucks and gulps like a man dying of thirst who has just been handed a bottle of cold clean water. Slowly his hands uncurl from fists and he lays a tiny palm on my chest. His eyes roll back a little in the ecstasy of milk. His raging body turns soft and yielding in my arms and for a while there is total peace. 4am. 

I gaze down on him in the many-pointed light from the star shaped lamp. His closed eyes with their tiny fair lashes look like twin crescent moons. I study the faint rosiness of his eyelids, the network of veins under the alabaster skin. Nothing can compare to the sweetness of your infant child when it is feeding or sleeping. When the needs that drive its survival are met and it is in repose. The infant child is a miracle of evolution and yet is completely dependant on its mother , or parent, to meet its needs. I look down on him cradled within my arms and see him as an extension of my own body; the mother and child as a perfect circle. One nestled inside the other in an endless curve. I struggle to comprehend the reality that my own body produced this. Life from life. One from inside the other, like Russian dolls.

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