I’ve been sick, really sick with mastitis (& quite frankly, sick of getting mastitis!). It’s the one illness I just can’t soldier on through solo, & find myself needing to call on Dave, friends, anyone to just help me through the first few days of fevers & the general shitty-ness associated with mastitis.
Anyone who knows me well, will know how much it kills me to need to call on anyone but myself. I just hate the whole feeling like I’m an inconvenience thing, or the feeling like I’m a complete nuisance thing, or the feeling like who I’m calling on for help will just be thinking ‘I can’t believe Cherie’s got mastitis again’, even though nobody that’s helped me through this latest bout of mastitis would honestly think that, & I know that – it’s just that I really do hate the whole needing help from others thing, despite having some pretty incredible people in my life willing to give their help.
You see, mastitis is just one of those things where you actually need to pull a sickie from Motherhood. One minute you’re walking, & you’re talking, & you’re cleaning, & you’re cooking, & you’re feeding, & you’re screaming like a banshee disciplining, & you’re just doing all of the Mother’y type things, & the next? Bang. You’re crawling around, & you’re needing your husband to come home from work, & you’re just shaking with fever, & your temperature is peaking at 40 degrees.
Or at least, that’s how my mastitis goes down, every time we go down this joyous mastitis-y path. It’s a road that I’ve travelled often with both babes, & I do all of the things, all of the flipping things that Google recommends you should do when you find yourself frantically Google’ing ‘recommended treatments for mastitis’ at 2 o’clock in the morning, but it’s to no avail. It appears no amount of hot showers, deep massage, cabbage leaves, or even ultrasound treatments can break up the lumps that like to form in my ducts, & that scares me – because I’d like to think Frankie & I’s breastfeeding journey will be a lengthy one, but I just also don’t know that I could handle a lengthy journey if it was one plagued with mastitis.
Mastitis really is just one of those things you wouldn’t wish upon worst enemy. In the lowest of my mastitis-y lows though, I’ll confess that I do fantasise about scenarios like … paedophiles being given breasts, which are then injected with mastitis, & that mastitis is then left untreated, and … well, these are the kinds of things I think about when I’m saturating beds with my own raging fevers at 2 o’clock in the morning, courtesy of that God forsaken mastitis.
Mostly though, I’ll admit that I fantasise about having a Mum, because it’s the nurturing that I’m craving the most – it’s nurturing that anyone craves most when they’re sick. And of course Dave will take a day off work if I absolutely need it, which he has done, but y’know … he’s a problem solver, & not a nurturer. And this isn’t intended as a critique on him, just an admission that sometimes I crave having my own ‘Mrs Doubtfire’. Y’know, like the real Mumsy Mum type? The type of Mums my friends have; those kind, loving, maternal types. And I’ll admit I’ve kinda been fantasising about having one of those Mumsy type Mums for myself, & having them pull me in for the almightiest Mama hug, & just allowing me to have a good cry & admit to them that Mothering is hard, & breastfeeding is hard, & that I just kinda need their help – even if only for a day.
It’s not that I’m not grateful for Dave, or that I don’t completely worship the ground that my Dad walks on, & it’s not even anything to do with not loving the friends that I have who’ve become like some of the family that I don’t have – it’s just that sometimes, Motherhood has this way of reducing a woman to literally needing to be squished into her Mother’s chest in the tightest of hugs, & to be told that everything is going to be ok.
This weekend, & this latest bout of mastitis has left me craving just that. Actually, I’d give anything for just that. What comforts me instead though, is knowing that my children will always have that tight squeeze from me when they need it the most. And when they become parents themselves, I’ll squeeze them even tighter. Because they’ll have days like the ones I’ve had where all they really need is a squeeze, & a quick tidy of their homes, & a sneaky replenish of the bare essentials in their fridge & pantry, & then the stealing of their children while they rest.
Photograph by my beautiful friend Lecinda from Bohemian Beautiful