But, does inner strength get muddled or misinterpreted as competition?
Early in my girls' lives, I needed to prove that I could raise twins - but it certainly wasn't for competitions' sake. Rather, it was for recognition, validation, and perhaps a little sympathy.
Take breastfeeding for instance. Upon speaking to a good friend and new mother, I remarked that if I had to do it over again - breastfeed twins for 10 months - I wouldn't have.
But I know that's not entirely true - as I write it, deep in my mind, I felt that familiar pang of pride. Plus, I would miss that raised eyebrow or shocked look that I get when I tell people.
Recognition. We all crave it, don't we?
All those months of being chained, quite literally, to the breast pump were not for recognition. My daughters won't ever brag that their mother spent hours in that blue leather chair, balancing my laptop and sometimes a baby (or two), praying that I could fill both eight ounce bottles.
But I will know that I did it. I'll know that I squeezed every ounce of that magical liquid from my body, and that I sobbed when the girls were three months old when I realized I couldn't keep up with increasing demand, and was forced to supplement with formula. Today, that seems just plain silly, and I encourage new mothers not to give it a second thought - to do whatever will help you get through each day.
The other afternoon, while lounging in the bathtub with my daughters, the three of us attempting to get warm after an early spring gardening lesson, I told them the story of their birth. They will be four years old in 2 weeks, and they love to talk about babies. I told them they surprised us by wanting to come out early, on Easter morning 4 years ago. I described how small they were when they came out of my belly. That their feet, now thrusting out of every new pair of shoes, were smaller than my thumb. How we had to put them in isolets to monitor them (they stopped me to explain each term they didn't understand), and that I wasn't allowed to hold them without permission from the nurses.
I told them we stayed in the hospital for 21 days before we brought them home and introduced them to Pumpkin, the cat. That they were too small to fit in regular car seats, and we had to buy special seats to accommodate their little bodies.
And that I still have the gavage tubes that were forced into their tiny nostrils, down into their stomach, so mommy's milk could nourish them.
They stared at me with wide eyed wonder.
If I was racing, it was for the health of the two perfect human beings that snuggle up in bed between my me and my husband on weekend mornings, nagging us incessantly for waffles.
|Tired out from all that racing|