Letters to a New Mother - Part 2
I was about 4 months pregnant with the Boy and my dis ease was growing. I wanted this child. I had spent 2 or 4 weeks after we agreed to try and get pregnant blissfully convinced that I actually was already, and I wept for 3 days when I learned I was not. A month later I was pregnant. I feel like I ought to apologize to my friends who tried so hard for so long to conceive for being so flippant about the whole thing, and so fertile.
But it was slowly dawning on me that I was/am a very selfish person. I felt myself pushing back against this unseen weight, rebelling against the all that I had begun to see that this child would take, would demand actually, and I despaired of ever being strong enough to do it.
We were staying with my MIL at the time and she was zealous about me getting a daily walk in every day So one day, just before sunset I walked the red dirt country lanes alone until I came to a stop under a pepper tree. In the shelter of those fragrant branches I poured it all out. With many tears and much snot, I might add.
"I can't do this. I'm much too selfish to love this child the way he deserves to be loved. The way he ought to be loved. I just don't have it in me. I like my comfort too much, my freedom."
Then, because this was a prayer, I delivered an ultimatum, born of desperation. "If you want this child to be loved the way he ought to be loved than you are going to have to help, because I can't do this alone."
The Boy's name means "God is my helper" by the way, as a reminder to me, each and every day, that I don't have to do this alone.
I don't care if you believe in God or not, I don't believe you are alone as a mother. I think every protective instinct and ounce of love in a mother's heart is a gift and a grace that she is strengthened with that goes hand in hand with the gift of a child. I think you will find you have the help you need too. You may need to ask for it.
I know I got the help I needed. That night the resentment building in me dissolved and I was free to fall in love with my baby, to lay and stare at him as a newborn and give grace to his stumbles as a toddler, and to listen to his never ending rambles about Legos as a boy.
It may be different for you, but I'm confident that along with the gift of the child with in you came the strength and grace you need to parent him or her, at least in seed form. As my MIL likes to say, "Babies make mothers."
We'll talk about how to nurture that in a later post. For now just remember that strength is something you gain by doing. You will find you have it, it may surprise you.