Six months ago today, Jack Henry came into the world. It wasn't the perfect, awe-inspiring moment I envisioned. I was strapped to a table and sawed open, and when they lifted up this writhing, meowing little creature so I could see him, the first thing I felt was profound sadness. I expected a thunderbolt of love to clap me smack in the heart. I expected to be overwhelmed with love the way they say it is supposed to be. But I wasn't. I felt desolate and lost, and entirely alone, and vastly disappointed in myself as a mother. Because I had to have a c-section. And because I didn't love him. I didn't feel like I loved him.
Those first few weeks--maybe even months--the only indication I had that I loved this child of my body was the fear I felt. I was afraid for him, always, as if I were caring for one of my own organs outside of my body. Fear, concern, and worry were the only constant emotions I had toward him. There were glimpses of true tenderness, but they were few. Mostly there was checking he was breathing, biting my lip as I tried--painfully--to breastfeed, and making sure he was warm enough, dry enough, happy enough. That was all.
My love for my son was not like a thunderbolt; it was more like a seed buried someplace deep. It needed nurturing to grow. But mostly it just needed time. My love for him has grown alongside him, and now they are both constantly outgrowing constraint. Finally, it is what I always imagined it would be, this love--something astonishing and powerful and devastatingly sweet.
Kind of like him.