Any mother will recognize this stance. It seems to be the primary stance from the time your children are old enough to hold up their head, to the time they are too heavy to hold (for any length of time, anyways). It’s almost a global symbolism for motherhood, as it is a stance used in most, if not all cultures. Many carry their child this way while they are doing daily chores, shopping, or just snuggling with their child. It feels to be a method to keep your child close, allowing them to feel safe, and comfortable next to mum; they can see the world around them, but within the safe confines of mother’s arms. And as the hip pain sets in (due to poor posture and weight distribution), we switch our children to the other side. For me, since I am right-handed, this often meant struggling to do daily activities with my left hand, not an easy feat for someone that is definitely dominantly right-pawed.
When my children were little, I had a difficult time “letting go”. It was hard for me to allow them to be independent. I was afraid of them getting hurt. I even fretted about them getting dirty, which was ridiculous, because a.) they were children and b.) we lived in the country, where it is simply impossible NOT to get dirty. My children loved to wander, explore, and yes, get dirty…really dirty. A few unforgettable moments were when we found our children playing in the cow’s watering trough, sitting in it like a Jacuzzi tub. As you can imagine, these tubs were not pristine, so I was a little freaked out. Another time, my children decided to see what the cows’ salt lick tasted like. As a germaphobic mother, this caused me a lot of anxiety. Of course, I laugh about it now…as do my adult children. I did ease-up over time, allowing my children to get filthy (oh so filthy), as they did take nightly baths, so my anxiety-riddled self would feel better knowing they were going to bed clean, free of the day’s filth, well, most of it anyhow.
I believe that part of the reason it was difficult for me to allow them independence early-on, was that it was simply hard for me to let go of them as children; as it meant they were growing up. I wanted to preserve those sweet babies as they were so precious. What I learned is that each stage of childhood was a treasure. It was sad to see them transition from the “Littles” stage, but I also enjoyed watching them grow up into amazing, beautiful, thoughtful, loving adults. As they grew, I grew as well. I tried to be a better mom each day. I wasn’t perfect (I’m sure my children will quickly attest to this), but I have always loved them with all my heart and I have always tried to be the best mama I could be. I believe my children know and understand this as well. And while I’m no long able to hold my children on my hip, I will always hold them in a special place in my heart.