Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Maternal Magnifier

Today I took P to get his first vaccinations.

Now, I deal with a lot of needles. LOTS. Big and small; tuohey's, cannulas, Sprottes, Quinckes, Whittakers, Swan-Ganz cathethers, CVLs, PICCs of every gauge and description. Apart from accupuncturists, I don't think there is any other medical specialty who deals with more needles than anaesthetists.

But today, as they swiftly and carefully immunised my son, I couldn't look. I had to literally turn my back and put my hands over my eyes.

I had the Maternal Magnifier on.

The Maternal Magnifier starts in pregnancy. Any threat to the belly becomes a threat to your entire existence and wellbeing. The accidental bump or knock becomes "Oh shit my baby will be damaged".

After delivery, the Maternal Magnifier is most active in hearing. Babies cry loudly, but you won't hear other babies' cries as loud as your own. Baby poo smell? Smelliest when it's your own offspring.

The most dramatic example of the Maternal Magnifier is its action on sight when any threat to the child is seen. Dogs, cars, hot or sharp objects become leviathan in their proportions.

Sharp objects- including needles. I looked at the needle- and thought "Oh my God, it's HUGE!" but then the next thought was- "hey, that's an orange hub, it's only a 23g." But then "No, they must be using a different brand of needle, it's too big to be a 23".

I honestly saw this needle as being as big as the ones they use to microchip animals. It's that old divide between what you know intellectually (This is an appropriately sized tiny 23g needle) versus what you actually feel (Get that horse needle away from my son!).

I knew that the needle was tiny. I just couldn't KNOW it.

I still am having trouble with really understanding that P was the lump in my belly. But today just proved to me just how protective I have grown. The Maternal Magnifier is well and truly 'on'.


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