There are moments for which a mother will slow time. She’ll commit these to memory for the all too certain future when her children will no longer depend on her as they do today. In these moments, it is almost as if there were only you and your baby, though you might be in a crowded room; you are for once not juggling several tasks in your all too active mind, and are concentrating solely on caring for and loving your little one. These moments differ from one mother to the next, but are obvious to even the most casual of observers.
For many, as it is with me, these moments represent the times that are spent breastfeeding our young children. From birth there were several precious times a day that I had to stop and sit awhile, in silence with my feeding baby. In these moments I could memorise the curves of my baby’s face, the increasing prevalence of curly dark hair atop her sweet-smelling head.
Some will look back on their child’s infancy and remember the bedtime routine – of their baby emerging clean and soft from the bath, and of little bodies slowly growing heavy in rocking arms, as they doze off to sleep. Lullabies surely play softly in the back of such mothers’ minds whenever they speak of their child.
Mariela's husband and children. Image: supplied.
I never expected that for some, their most valued time could be during their baby’s nappy changes.
You’ll see these mothers in the parents’ rooms at shopping centres, their prams heavily laden with grocery bags, parked behind changing tables. Folded at the hips, they’ll converse happily with their child, their faces hovering over widespread gummy grins. Sometimes the process is interrupted by clapping and dancing hands, moving in time to an impromptu performance of a melodic nursery rhyme. Every nappy change is leisurely spent, used as an opportunity to bond with whom they most adore.