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Hello. I'm a mother of a newborn and I have kangaroo envy

The ultimate baby carrier
The ultimate baby carrier
Photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos. Image released by GNU Free Documentation License.

It has been thirteen days since I gave birth to my third child. And whilst I fluctuate between emotions of unabashed love and helpless exhaustion, I am continuously haunted by one thought: I wish I was a kangaroo. Seriously. I carry my delicate little infant in my arms, she sleeps on my chest, I sway with her held tight against me, I nurse her on demand and I do all of these things with the most ample devotion of which I have ever been capable. I do so because am her mother.

But I do not possess one thing, I feel, every mother should have for her baby: a pouch. A marsupium. A built-in baby pocket. And then there is the kangaroo, who does. That cute, kick-boxing little Aussie has one and we don't. How is it possible that we are the more evolved species and do not have such a thing? Are kangaroos such supreme multi-taskers that they need a pouch more than us? I mean, any idiot can flip through a Sky Mall catalog and see that WE are the kings of hands-free. We should have a pouch.

Yet, all we can do is envy the furry marsupial. We pouch-lacking humans have to design and create a hundred different types of carriers and wraps to essentially serve the same purpose. Nowadays we have the Moby, the Ergo, the Maya, the Bjorn, the Mei Tai, and the list goes on and on. I have three of those just listed and I have used and will use them all. Mothers have been using similar alternatives for centuries.

Nevertheless, despite having my own alternatives, I cannot seem to alleviate my kangaroo envy. The truth is, it is not so much about needing to be hands-free while caring for our young as it is about keeping our children close. My newborn is tiny, helpless and needs me to protect her. But I still feel the desire to protect my older, much bigger children as well. When my three year-old falls off his bike and comes to me crying, I want to soothe him and keep him in a safe place where he cannot get hurt. When my six year-old independently waves goodbye and walks away from me into her school, I want to hold her and keep her close so she will always be with me. Oh yes, a pouch would be handy.

But someday our children grow up and leave and no longer need us to keep them close and safe. Someday, that built-in pouch becomes obsolete, even for the kangaroo. I cannot imagine a more depressing, ominous symbol of an empty nest. So unless the kangaroo in its twilight uses its pouch to carry her groceries, who needs it? I guess I'll stick to the notion that someday when I do not need my pouch alternatives anymore, I can sell them in a garage sale or give them to a new mom dealing with her own kangaroo envy.


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Copyright ©2011 by E. Darby Herrington. All rights reserved.


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