Sunday, June 24, 2007

Joy unhindered

I remember sitting alone one day, Briar was napping upstairs and Avery was still a growing flutter in my belly. The sunlight streaming through the window seemed too good to shine upon me, so profound was my shame. I was having a baby and I knew I could not love her the way she deserved. I didn't have the strength of heart left. I caressed my belly in apology, murmuring promises that I would try my best. I wept, unclear just who my guilt was for.

As the pregnancy went on I made exaggerated exclamations to anyone who would listen, thinking that perhaps I could fool myself into believing. The truth was I genuinely feared what lay ahead. I did not want to meet the side of me I knew was there, a mom who simply loved one child more than another. I could not bear it and worried Sean would hate me for it.

When Avery came I saw my fears realized, she was not Briar, her arrival did not ignite me the same way. Those first weeks at home I did not weep with joy, didn't stare for hours. I worked and cleaned to escape. I walked in silent terror, the thought of a lifetime of compensating and manufacturing emotions broke me. I never uttered a word of this to anyone.

It's been building for months now, undulating waves of consciousness. Some days it's like the wait for Christmas, the excruciating anticipation and all encompassing excitement, others it's thick, more like wading through an endless week. The other day it finally came to a head.

Unadulterated worship of Avery, and bringing me to my knees, the exquisite understanding that it has always been there.

She is as wondrous as winter's first snowfall and as precious as summer's last swim. She is my Avery, and as has been all along, I love her like no other.

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Joy, of course! said...

Oh how I know this fear, I had it again and again and again. With each child, surely I couldn't love them like I did the others, surely there wasn't room left in me to love like that again. But I did, not like the others, I loved them uniquely, but not less. Thank you for sharing this journey, this fear that so many of us have. It was beautifully written.

flutter said...

Oh. Of course you do.

Colleen said...

Beautiful post.

I have these fears as we talk of having another baby. I wonder how I could love anyone as truly and completely as I love Zoe.

chelle said...

That fear was so real to me. I worshiped our daughter, how could I do the same for our son. It happened though ... I love those kids more than life itself ... amazing how it works!

Crystal said...

Perfectly said.
We shared the same experience.
I don't keep it under wraps to my friends who are pregnant with #2.

Cate said...

Wow......this post brought me to tears. It's like you took a peek inside my head and found memories from just before and just after Logan was born. I remember sitting in the hospital waiting for Logan to arrive...I worried how much his prematurity would affect our second child, sure....but what was running through my mind most of all was Zander. How would this preemie that would need so much of my attention affect Zander. At times I even wondered whether it was necessary to give Zander a brother or sister...after all, he was perfect and there was no way I could love another child the way I loved him. I felt so guilty...

And now, I sit in awe of Logan...every day. What a wonderfully unique, deliciously rolly polly little boy. How could I have thought I wouldn't/couldn't love him as much?

I think this is a mom's right of passage in a way...