An interesting and exciting experience occurred with my baby. I was giving her a bottle and stopped to burp her. So I put her on my shoulder and patted her back. Then she did something babies always do when their mouth is near skin – she tried licking my shoulder. Her automatic nursing reflex to eat kicked in. Now, even with all of the babies I have had, even though my kids all sucked on my arm if they moved their head, looking for more food, I had never felt the sensation of a baby attempting to nurse! I have felt it on a physical level, but not in a way where my brain would interpret what I was feeling and in turn allow me to live in that experience. I never knew – how removed I was from the physical experience of living. I had no idea there was more to our senses. Sure, my senses are mostly in tact (except for pain and pleasure) – I can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. I can appreciate a beautiful painting, enjoy music, like and dislike different smells and tastes, BUT none of those things have been able to move me on an emotional level. Life has been impersonal and I never realized it until my baby “nursed” on my shoulder.
It makes sense now why breastfeeding has been impossible. I understand now that feeling in my breasts comes and goes. There is no pain, no pleasure 90% of the time. What I feel is pretty much robotic or strictly on a physical level – very externally focused.
There are pros and cons to having a limited experience of the senses. Here is a good example of a pro: Childbirth. Labor and delivery is said to be the most painful thing a person could go through, however, the delivery room was said to be like a black hole the last time I was giving birth. When the pain hits and increases, I do not talk, I do not move. I retreat and pull everything I can within. I become extremely focused during the pain. I actually use all my strength to get through birth. Nobody knows it though. To everybody else I am a frigging’ machine. There is no crying, or yelling, no crazy outbursts – I lay there quietly and still. Thankfully my husband can tell by now how much pain I am in by how quiet and still I am. When it comes time to push I do yell – that is very painful – although my husband still says even then I don’t express how I feel or even use grunts to help push.
So, limited pain is a pro. The cons range from physical to the emotional. During one of my pregnancies I became extremely sick and didn’t know it until I was on my death-bed. I had an infection from a super-bug that is resistant to antibiotics and has a mortality rate which varies from 50% to 100% depending on the overall health of the individual. This was severe pneumonia and a severe kidney and bladder infection. I HAD NO IDEA that I was so sick! The baby was delivered a month early. Labor was induced though I was having seizures. When the baby was born, she had a fever of 106 degrees and needed an IV which was put in through the soft spot of her skull! Also I am unable to breastfeed because I am unable to experience nursing a baby. Then you have the marital problems that arise because touching and being touched doesn’t connect with my emotions or mental processes they way it does for most normal people. I can’t tell you, how hard marriage has been because I don’t really experience life! So the fact that finally I experienced a touch in a new way is a major eye opener.
What else don’t I feel?