Nurturing is for Babies

When was the last time you felt nurtured?

This question makes me feel uncomfortable and even (ugh) vulnerable. Nurturing seems like a foreign concept when used in reference to adults. My partner nurtures me all the time when he cooks for me, when he notices I’m cold, and when he gives me great big hugs. But I don’t know if I would call it nurturing. That sounds so…weak.

Nurturing sounds like something we do for babies. We hold them, rock them to sleep, whisper in their ear, and respond to their every whim. We do those things for babies because they are helpless. They cannot feed themselves, they cannot change their own diapers, they cannot rock themselves to sleep. They need human touch, attention, and kindness. Newsflash: you need those things too.

You, an adult, can do a lot of these things. You can feed yourself, soothe yourself, wipe your own ass, and you even figure out how to whisper in your own ear. (Test out the voice memo function on your smart phone.) Sometimes you do these things for yourself and sometimes you just skip over them. Yeah, YOU. I know who you are. Busted.

Even though you can do those things doesn't mean you always want to. Sometimes it feels really great when someone does those things for you. Except maybe the ass wiping thing. Personally, I’d prefer to keep that one for myself. Although my Canadian friend assures me that the warm water from his bidet is the way to go, so maybe I’ll have to stay open to that possibility.

I used to go to a restorative yoga class on Sunday nights and I loved it. There were only a handful of students each week. I’m not actually sure you could call us students because really we would just lie on the floor for an hour and a half while the “teacher” nurtured us. In this restorative yoga class, we only did 2-4 poses in the entire hour. We lounged out like butterflies who did not have to worry about being eaten by a predator: our wings spread, displaying our full beauty, fully relaxed.

The teacher (the amazing Andrea Bachman) would go around the room, make adjustments to pillows, bring us more blankets, waft essential oils, and softly utter inspirational words. I would always think of Brandi Carlile’s lyric from her song “Looking Out” whenever she would position a sand bag on my hips so that I didn’t float away: “I lay this suitcase on my chest so I can feel somebody's weight.” Although it wasn’t part of the class, Andrea would even be happy to give you a bear hug if you needed one. She would read us a poem, encourage us to move at our own pace as we did the challenging work of rolling over to a different position. Imagine if someone woke you up that way each morning. No more harsh blare of the alarm clock or some weirdly irritating song thought up by the sadists who make cell phones.

That yoga class felt decadent. It felt like a guilty pleasure. It felt indulgent and almost embarrassing. It felt like I was getting an intangible benefit that could not possibly be measured against such an arbitrary thing as money. I caught myself wondering if anyone nurtured the teacher like she was nurturing us.

How much would a baby pay to be nurtured?

Wow that sounds ridiculous.

A baby is neutral about being nurtured. It’s a fact of life. It is a necessity for survival. It is a life or death predicament. Babies are not extravagant, they are simply human in their requirements for nurturing. Someone must nurture the baby or the baby dies. Second newsflash: you will too. If you don’t have anyone in your life who nurtures you, you must, at a minimum, nurture yourself. It’s not a luxury. You were a baby once and although nurturing looks different for you now (see ass wiping, above), you still need to do it. You don’t even need to tell anyone you’re doing it, just work it into the schedule. Maybe you can create a fake name for it in your calendar. Try “Just Say No to Babies” or “Bidet Shopping.” Or if you need to fool someone else into thinking you’re doing something important (third newsflash: you are), try “Administrative Work” or “Family Time.”

Alright baby, quit your crying and nurture yourself already.


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