“Watch Out ! Here Comes Mama Bear !”

26 Nov

With the risk of sounding overtly sappy, I have been struggling with how best to describe this in-built “Highly Sensitive-Over-Protective-Mama-Bear” function that I have developed since becoming a mother.  People who know me personally will testify that I am a demonstrative person who wears her heart on her sleeve, anyway.  But this is far deeper.  Much more intense.  And because of it, I am surprised at the times I have turned into a blubbering mess.

The other day, as I collected the mail from our letterbox, I picked up my husband’s latest copy of “Surfing Life” magazine.  As a birthday surprise for him, I had ordered a year’s subscription.  But my heart sank when I saw the cover.   The photo was of 3 times World Surfing Champion Andy Irons with his arm casually around his long-time rival, (but eventual personal friend), 10 times Champion Kelly Slater.

At the tender age of 32, Andy Irons suddenly passed away earlier this month.  From the perspective of a new mother, what makes this story truly heartbreaking to me, is that at the time of his death, Andy’s wife, Lindy was 8 months pregnant with their first baby – a son.

Unexpectedly, the tragic news shook me up.  I couldn’t understand it.  I had barely cared much for Andy Irons or his career.  The little that I had followed of his life had been through my husband’s interests in the surfing world.  But for some reason, I put myself in Lindy’s shoes.  I couldn’t bear to think how she was going to face child birth and child rearing as a widow.  I had also read that despite his fiery competitive nature, Andy was looking forward to becoming a dad.  In hearing all of this, my Mama Bear mode was turned on: full-throttle.

Seeing the magazine cover bought up all those emotions again.

When I passed the magazine over to my husband, he could see that I was visibly upset.  He had one look at the cover and he knew immediately – that damn switch was on…again.  Bless my husband.  He has perfectly figured out how to deal with these melodramatic incidents.  As if it was part of the routine, he just calmly asked if I was okay. Between sobs, I mumbled, “It’s so, so, sad…he was going to be a father…”

My hubby turned around and gave me a hug.  It was all I needed.

Almost anything can trigger off that emotional explosion.  (It’s for this very reason, I cannot stand to watch the news on television).  The severity of the situation is irrelevant.

This is going to sound utterly ridiculous (deep breath), but I was completely beside myself when watching the Pixar animation “Up”.  But come on, with main themes such as unconditional love, devoted friendships and the struggle to find self-confidence ?  Well, that’s just a guaranteed recipe for uncontrollable floodgates.

Then, there is the most dramatic episode to date.  The big clincher:  The day I was discharged from the maternity hospital and had to leave behind my premature babies at the Newborn Care Centre.  A Mama Bear being sent home without her newborn cubs.  I was inconsolable.  A complete emotional wreck.  Just writing about it, still tears me up.

In writing this blog post, I am well aware of the dangers portraying myself as a neurotic, highly-strung mother.  That’s okay.  I know I’m not.  I am a new mother becoming attuned with her heightened feelings of love, joy, happiness, gratitude – mixed with a deep desire and need to protect and nurture.  I’m going to sit back and let these emotions over-ride me.  And that’s okay too.

The late Andy Irons with his wife, Lindy


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