On Being a Mother

He won’t eat or sleep these days, and even though these things frustrate me, somehow they make me love him more(and worry about him more too!) I’ve left behind much of my identity and have become “mama,” plain and simple, like billions of other women. To him, I’m not a poet or activist. I’m not a vegetarian or a spiritual person. I’m “ninneh” or mama. Ninneh is his word for breastfeeding and often he won’t even look at my face, but straight at my breasts and screams “ninneh!” as soon as I enter the room. I’ve become the ninnehs. Nothing more.

I know this stage doesn’t last long, and that babies his age are weaned and happy, but I’m pretty much at my wits end. I believe in breastfeeding. We sit down with him to feed him, we follow him around with food, sing songs, do dances and all for nothing. He pretty much will not eat. On the rare day he does, it’s kale, which basically has a negative calorie count. He’s living on breastmilk and air. “Wean him!” Everyone yells at me. “Stop co-sleeping” is the other one I get yelled at for. I’ve read everything you have. Believe me. I really have. Both sides. All the articles. All the studies. I’m not one of those staunch decidedly attachment parenters. I simply believe that for this child, this is the right thing. I’ve made my decisions to parent this way based on his temperament and for the most part it works!

I’m the ninneh and I love cuddling and snuggling. I love all the things that come with this part of his life. Even the poopy diapers are still okay. We’re in the process of working on potty training. Slow and steady- but he’s getting it. He sings songs and dances like a champs. He notices butterflies and airplanes. He picks tomatoes and loves the garden. It’s such hard work. The day in and day out. The labors of love of every meal being a fight and every bite a victory exhausts me. I’m so tired. And I’m so grateful. I have never had to be so selfless in all my life. My world literally revolves around what he needs, when he needs it- anticipating those needs, and fulfilling them. I’ve never gotten such little sleep while having to do so much. My love and prayers goes out to all the mamas out there!




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