It is a powerful, startling and unique love that one succumbs to after giving birth. It consumes all senses, and occupies mind, body and soul. Having been in it for the second time of my life, I am really noticing how set apart it is from all the other loves I have felt.
When I was pregnant with Galen, I was so worried that I would not, could not possibly, love this new baby as much as I loved Jonah. The complete fierceness of motherhood felt singular, something so powerful that it could never be repeated. There was a point, early in (my first) labor with Galen that I really had to come up against and acknowledge my fears around becoming a parent of two. Having grown up an only child, it was a hard thing for me to comprehend. I remembered the raw intensity of feelings that overwhelmed me the first moment I touched Jonah, how my entire world cracked open and my heart exploded, and it seemed unrealistic to expect that to happen again.
And it didn't, not in the same way. Jonah's labor was so long and so hard, once it came to it's climax I was already in an altered state. As Paul said, we were exhausted physically and emotionally, and part of us probably doubted whether or not it would ever end, if we'd really get the baby after all that we'd gone through.
Galen's birth was intense, but felt so right, so clear, and when he fell into my hands it was just the natural conclusion to a natural process. It also made sense in that I had already done it once before, and, while it was different, it wasn't a surprise.
But that animal love was there. Still is, in fact, and getting stronger every day.
Animal love is my name for the fierce, instinctual way that my heart has wrapped itself around my boys. The way I know they're waking up a second before they stir. How their skin smells so good that I can't stop nuzzling them. The actual pain I feel when they hurt, and how it seems like I never knew joy until I heard them laugh. It is deep and primal, and I'm guessing it has had a lot to do with our species' success.
I am laying here, Jonah dreaming next to me while Galen nurses in his sleep, and I know that this is it. This one bliss... This must be love...
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