I’ve heard how one supposedly mellows with age, how time puts things in perspective and allows a person to focus on what’s really important in life. See the big picture, if you will.
Well, the opposite seems to be happening to me. I’ve always thought of myself as easy going and prided myself for being adaptable, but I’ve noticed that the older I got, the easier my temper flared over the tiniest thing.
I used to just mentally shake my head at people who pressed the elevator DOWN button, for example, when they, in fact, wanted to go UP, but these days, I have to almost-physically restrain myself from shoving them in the elevator car going down when it arrives.
There are other things too: Husband forgetting to empty all the trash bins on trash collection day, preschooler defiance, surprise, unfair bank charges(!).
Oh, and people cutting in lines! In public rest rooms! At building lobbies! At MRT stations!!! Yes, this might just be the thing that pushes me to finally go berserk.
Understand that I don’t mean just annoyance here, I’m talking about rage. Body-trembling, mentally-picking-up-offending-person-and-slamming-them-on-the-wall, needing-to-pause-and-take-deep-deep-calming-breaths rage.
I’m a bit anxious about this life development because, at this point, I maybe get one stable week a month. A week and half, tops. And so I’ve been trying to observe myself to hopefully figure out where this sudden anger has been coming from. Could it be leftover pregnancy hormones? Mid-life crisis? Perimenopause?
Is it just me who’s going through this phase? Somebody please reassure me that this is just a phase and things will eventually calm down.
We went to the pediatrician’s this afternoon for Cortez’s monthly check-up, and I expected to be in and out after the routine length and weight check and vaccination. To my surprise, I was stopped at the hospital entrance and asked to surrender the milk bottles I had with me.
Apparently, the #OurLadyOfLourdesHospital (#OLLH), where my kids’ pedia holds clinic, has been accredited by the #DepartmentOfHealth (#DOH) as a mother-baby friendly hospital and as such, cannot have milk bottles brought inside its buildings.
I explained that my 5-month-old son was due a feeding in about 30 minutes and asked if there was a waiver that I could sign. The answer was no.
I was told that I was, of course, free to come to the lobby to retrieve my child’s food at any time and feed him outside the hospital.
I began to seethe.
Now I purposely waited several hours before writing about what I feel about this unreasonable, illogical, stupid and discriminatory directive, in the hopes that my rage somehow dims. It hasn’t.
This mother-baby friendly hospital only welcomes mothers who directly breastfeed their babies.
No, it doesn’t count if you express milk and have your child drink it from a bottle. And God forbid that I actually feed my child formula. Without a doubt, I must be the worst kind of mother there is! I should be grateful they let me in at all!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to question the pros of breastfeeding. I am all for it and have great respect for mothers who breastfeed. I would do it if I could, but unfortunately, my breasts refused to cooperate.
Hardcore breastfeeding advocates can argue until next year about how anybody can produce milk if they only try hard enough, and they may even be right, but the fact remains that one can hardly will one’s empty breasts to produce milk on demand.
I would like to believe that each mother does the best she can for her child, and at the top of the list is making sure her child does not starve.
Yes, direct breastfeeding is ideal, but guess what, ideal is not always doable for everyone.
Ideal is not always doable for mothers who work, and the next best thing may be expressing milk and having their babies drink it from a bottle.
Ideal is not always doable for mothers who, like me, have little to no milk at all and so must supplement with formula which their babies drink from a bottle.
Ideal is not always doable for mothers who, for reasons known only to them and we must respect, choose to feed their babies formula from a bottle.
Ideal is not always doable for mothers who have had double mastectomy, OFW mothers who have no choice but leave their infants, and fathers whose wives died in childbirth.
I can go on and on, but I guess mother-baby friendly hospitals would rather babies starve rather than have them feed from milk bottles.
They wanted me to feed my child outside, like it was something dirty, lest I taint their mother-baby friendly image with my evil milk bottles.
Milk bottles aren’t the enemy here, it’s small minds who think up these blanket discriminatory rules and laws that pass judgment on people.
UPDATE: Apparently, and somebody correct me if I misunderstood, this law under the Milk Code is an old one and it is in accordance to the #WorldHealthOrganization (#WHO) policy under the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes wherein the Philippines was one of the signatories. [Please read: http://www.wpro.who.int/nutrition/documents/docs/wpro_breastfeeding_obstacles.pdf ]
I don’t think anybody is disputing the fact that breast milk is best. It is. But it is also a fact that it is not always doable to breastfeed, directly or indirectly.
I think we can all agree that DOH’s interpretation is extreme. What they should do is strengthen their campaign so mothers can make informed choices, not force everyone to comply regardless of circumstances.
There are days when I understand why mothers walk out on their families. Get up, pack their bags and not look back.
My heart is not big enough to contain the love I have for my children but there are days when the crying and whining and demanding become too loud and too much and I have to stop and close my eyes and take deep, deep breaths. And in that moment I see myself in my mind’s eye getting up, packing my bags and walking out the door.
There are days when I understand why mothers smack their children to near-death. Lift one hand and slap slap slap them silly.
My heart aches with each heartbreak my son goes through and I would give anything to take the hurt but there are days when the stubbornness and tantrums and outright defiance get the better of me and I have to stop and clench my fists until they stop shaking with the desire to spank, smack, slap.
There are days when the 4-year-old complains about every little thing I ask him to do and the 4-month-old starts crying as soon as I put him down. Days when the house is dirty and filled with crying and whining, and my head throbs so hard I am sure it would explode. Days when I start running around as soon as I open my eyes trying to take care of two kids and trying to finish chores, and the only time in the day I get to sit is when I pee.
There are days when I can feel everything and everyone clawing clawing clawing at me from everywhere and the hardest thing to do is stay.
But there are also days when the little boy is extra sweet and the baby wakes up smiling. Days when the sun shines extra bright and a soft breeze blows through the house. Days when I have to pinch myself and ask how I got so lucky to have the life that I have.
And so on these days, the good ones, I find quiet moments to stand back and just watch, and remember, for when the bad days come.
i’ve been feeling off lately. floating between happy and sad. calm and annoyed. content and restless.
like i’m sandwiched between marshmallows. moving in slow motion yet unable to pause, barely able to breathe. there’s white noise constantly humming in my ear that i can’t seem to turn off.
generic. like something that came out of a factory assembly line, dutifully waking up, doing chores, going to work. marching right along the other hundreds of thousands just like me: faces forward, one foot in front of the other. never wondering, never questioning. each interchangeable with the other.
i need to be where there’s sun.