Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Dream of a Mother

I had a dream.

In the retelling of my dream, the part of my subconscious and healthy inner-voice will be played by Peggy O’Mara - pioneer in natural family living, attachment parenting, and founder and editor of Mothering magazine. Peggy started consciously parenting her own young children in a time when breastfeeding was discouraged, birth meant being knocked out, and child rearing was all about spanking and letting babies cry it out.

Also, it must be stated that I have been questioning my abilities and intuitions as a mother lately. Doubt and self-judgement have been my side kicks, and I have struggled a lot over my perceived failures.

Now, on to my dream…

I have a beautiful baby wrapped snugly to my body in a soft sling style baby carrier. I walk into a gorgeous and homey little shop, walls bedecked in homespun yarns, beads and handmade objects. I notice that beyond a baby gate is another area and, wishing to see what is there, I begin to step over the gate. With just one leg over the gate, my sandals slide and I begin to do the splits straddling the baby gate. Peggy O’Mara, who is working on an old typeset machine preparing the next issue of her magazine by hand, comes to my side and offers to help me, but her efforts are not working and I am sliding (much to the impending peril of my lady parts, but for me, more importantly, putting my baby in danger). I tell her to wait, and then I tell her exactly what I need her to do to steady me while I get my feet back under me. She does, and soon I am balanced and able to step over the gate.

We begin to chat. “Love the sling” she says. I tell her I do too, that I have used them for all of my babies. “Breastfeeding?” She asks. I pat Tessa, who stands beside me, on the head. “About 2½ years each.” I smile proudly.

Her questions continue. Homebirth? Life changing. Co-sleeping? We love it. Organic? We are trying, but we could do better. Home school? Montessori is a better fit. Products? Natural, when we can find them and afford them. Parenting? Attachment… not perfect, but dedicated.

I am realizing in those little moments that this "list" she unfolds before me shows me how hard I have been working to be a better mother.

“Girl after my own heart.” She says simply and smiles. Her motherly approval is so nourishing and healing. I feel validated, understood, accepted even with my faults and half-successes.

I wake up.

In the dream, I knew just what I needed; exactly how I could be helped. I sought the protection of my child over my own welfare, and I recited to “her” (myself) all of the things that I have done in the past 13 years to try to become a better mother.

And “she” (I) approved. (I) felt a surprising out-pouring of love and respect.

Somehow it’s nice to know, on some deeply subconscious, dreamy level, what (I) really think of me.

Photo of baby Tessa and I captured by my amazing friend Annmarie Hall, who, by the way, is responsible for nearly all the black and white photos and portraits featured in my posts, including my profile picture.

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