Monday, January 11, 2010

The Human Animal

Participating in the whole reproductive process has changed the way I perceive myself. I mean how can you not get in touch with the "human animal" when your body has created, birthed and sustained life. It is a enormous process which we have given such a wealth of meaning, yet, it is also the one thing we share with the creatures that surround us. Humans tend to separate themselves from other animals as if we are superior, however after milking myself, I cannot deny my sisterhood with the dairy cow.

There is something so primal about looking into the eyes of your newborn child. They are so small, so fledgling. A newborn is vulnerable, but has great will to live. She can communicate immediately when she is uncomfortable or hungry. When you remove all voluntary movement as you see in a newborn, you really see the essential human. This sight brings on a surge of emotion, the maternal instinct: the raw part of you that wants to protect, feed and nurture your child. These emotions may also be combined with fear, anxiety and nausea due to the gravity of that responsibility, however, you realize in yet another way how you are part of a process that began before you and will continue well after you.

Young children remind us of the baby gorillas in the zoo which is why both my children were nicknamed "monkey". Exploring the world, making everything a toy, hanging onto their mama, and just as we are, mama is right there to protect her child from the bad things to which she is blissfully unaware. The mother gorilla appears strong and cares tenderly for her young. I identify with her image and feel an animal connection in our shared experience as mothers. I also empathize that she can't hide her floppy boobs with a good bra.

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