Wednesday, February 22, 2012

acceptance as gradual process

I used to think before I would write.  I used to have time to think.  Now, I barely have time to write.  This is why a lot of my blogging is about mundane things, rather than well thought-out topics.  If I were to wait until I actually had something well articulated and well formulated to write, there would be no blog at this point.  So, instead, I just decide to write, I wait until Emma falls asleep, then sneak out like a bandit with my laptop and just write, whatever, hoping that my brain will stumble upon something wise, but mostly just taking snapshots.  My blogging has become snapshots of my life, whatever goes through my mind at a particular time, with very little synthesis involved, and mostly painting the picture-of-the-moment.  If I am smart at that time, something smart comes out.  If I am my usual sleep deprived and not particularly intelligent self, get the drift.

Today, I was thinking about how acceptance is a state that comes and goes.  I was trying to breastfeed Emma and, like so many times before, I had no milk, or I had too little to interest her.  I got her a bottle of formula, and fed her, as I lay next to her, as my useless breasts kind of sat there, doing nothing.  I felt useless myself.  As much as I have embraced the concept of having semi-barren breasts, I still have moments where I am not accepting the truth about my lack of milk, and try to breastfeed her, sometimes succeeding in pacifying her, but mostly not.  I am thankful about all the formula available to us, and I am impressed and thankful for all the donated breast milk that we have received over the past six months, but I am still in pain about not being able to feed her myself.  Most of the time, I suppress that pain so well, that I forget all about it.  Have I really accepted the situation?  Partially, yes.  But I still have work to do.

I don't know that we ever really accept something.  Particularly something big.  I think that a very primitive part of our brain responds first to things like being infertile, having a baby die, or even small things like having no breast milk.  The acceptance part is the work that we do to quiet or disarm that primitive voice that starts the "why me, I'm no good, I'm damaged, what's wrong with me" chorus.  With time and practice, the wiser self gets faster and better at quieting this voice, to the point at which we don't even have to work at it, it happens almost automatically, and perhaps we are not aware of it.

Acceptance is a process.  It takes work.  Initially, the response time is slower, then we get better and faster at it.  Eventually, it becomes automatic, and we forget that we are doing it, until the day when we are tired or upset and the acceptance part takes more time and effort, or maybe doesn't happen at all.  That is the day when the old chorus starts again, and the useless/damaged/wrong feeling comes back.  A day like today, when I realize that I wish my stupid breasts would do their job.

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