back out watermarked

I threw my back out.

One minute I was attempting to clean up the bedroom while wearing Elijah and the next I was gasping for breath through the pain, stumbling to the living room so I could sit down and call for help.

There really is no better way for my body to say, “Fine. If you won’t take a proper break, we’ll make sure you rest!”

I spent about 4 hours on my back on the floor of the living room and still the muscles wouldn’t relax so I crawled to the bathroom and sunk down in hot hot water. I stayed well past prune-stage and let nature’s pain reliever give me a break.

I wish the first full night I’ve slept alone in my room for years was more relaxing, but I can’t deny that I got more sleep than I have in months. Elijah slept better too in his little crib next to Jason on the couch. Maybe we need to end our co-sleeping relationship. There’s no denying that it contributed to my back problems.

When my back went out I was angrily cleaning while reluctantly carrying him in the Moby, ranting in my head about what an attachment parenting failure I am. My back was already hurting from yet another bad night’s sleep bedsharing with him and having to wear him to keep him somewhat happy was not what I wanted for either my mind or my body.

I know that attachment parenting is not really about cosleeping and babywearing, but it’s easy to let those tools feel like the entire thing. And neither comes as easily to me as I would like. The idea of snuggling next to your baby sounds dreamy, and it is in small doses. But the wonder wears off when you have to stay in one position until your back is aching and you can’t turn over and it keeps you awake so you’re exhausted the next day. The concept of wearing a baby on your body so your hands are free sounds great until you put the baby in the carrier and simultaneously feel a fog overtake your brain making the fact that your hands are free completely beside the point because you can’t remember any of the things you wanted to do anyways. And then the child starts to cry.

Attachment parenting is so much more than this. It’s an approach to parenting that covers every aspect of the parent-child relationship and does not require cosleeping and parenting. I’m victorious in my attachment goals every time I choose relationship over behavior, every time I snuggle in close so I can understand instead of putting a comfortable distance between us, every time I tune in to the emotional undercurrents in my boys and choose to be educated by them instead of the reverse. I can’t help but parent by attachment. I would do it even if it didn’t have a name.

The primary personal battle I fought after Nathan came home was maintaining my core mother identity in the face of other’s criticisms. My primary mothering battle this time is being content with the mother I am in the face of my own criticism. I struggle to let my ideals guide me, but not become gods.

There is no way to worship the god of being the ideal mother when you are crying in agony on the floor of the living room unable to pick up your children.

So I’m thankful for the gift of this pain. I’ll soak up some rest, quiet, and alone time. And I’ll take note of all the ways I’m able to love my boys and maintain attachment even from my bed. I’m grateful for them and the gift of these relationships.

And I hope I’m back on my feet soon.