I’m a big supporter of breastfeeding in public, but I never was able to. My kid is just too curious. If we’re out, Teddy wants to look around. He could be starving, but would never be able to nurse because there’s just too much to see. Even at home, we nurse only in my room, with the lights off and the door closed. Sometimes the alarm clock is so interesting he can’t concentrate on eating.
A few weeks ago, I developed a strategy. Singing. You may recall that I wrote a post last year on singing in public, about how I could calm a stroller screaming fit by singing a happy tune as we walked down the street. Since then, Teddy’s love of obsession with music has grown substantially. So singing while breastfeeding seemed like a good way to keep him from crawling off the edge of the bed in pursuit of something fascinating.
But now, singing has become mandatory. The kid doesn’t want to nurse unless I sing. If I stop, he sits up and signs “more.” Should I pause too long between songs, he signs “music” as if I need a reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing.
What do I sing? Showtunes, folk songs, pop songs, jazz standards, hymns, made-up little ditties, and really, anything that comes into my head.
At first, I was just singing to keep Teddy focused, but since then, I’ve remembered something: I love singing.
It brings me joy. It always has. I loved singing as a kid, sang in choir all through high school and college. It’s only as an adult that I stopped because there stopped being a reason to sing.
What I really love about singing now is that it’s about no one but me. It’s not my job. It’s not for a class. I’m not trying to impress anyone. How well I sing does not indicate how good of a mother or journalist or person I am. I sing for singing’s sake, because I enjoy it.
I feel like I’m just starting to wake up from the stupor that is pregnancy and having a baby. For awhile there, my whole self disappeared. It was like I utterly transformed, but into what? I didn’t know. I felt lost. I didn’t want to be my old self, but my new self was completely undefined.
It’s starting to take shape, little by little. I would say that I’m starting to feel like myself again, but that’s not entirely it. It’s more that I’m starting to feel like a person again, a separate person, a whole person. I like things. Like singing. I might sing to my kid because he likes it, but moreover, I like it. That may not sound like much of a revelation, but to anyone who has had their psyche stripped down my motherhood the way I have, it really is.
Maybe I’ll take a vocal technique class at the Old Town School. Or get some sheet music that I like. Or form some sort of mom glee club with matching sequin dresses. Or maybe I’ll just keep singing to my kid while breastfeeding and just enjoy it. And enjoy enjoying something. Any way it shakes out, I’m just so grateful to feel like I’m emerging from my mama cocoon, more sure of myself than ever before.