I Can See Clearly Now

RJ as a newborn! She’s always been the cutest baby!

If it hasn’t become noticeable already, I love RJ. She makes life better in so many ways and I truly cannot imagine life without her anymore. :)

But I remember when that was not the case. I remember feeling numb, feeling scared, feeling like I wanted to run away. I remember not wanting to wake up, not wanting to nurse, not wanting to look at the baby that I couldn’t connect to. I remember wishing I could feel so in love again and being absolutely horrified all the time because I did not believe I ever would.

Now, I bask.

When I walk into her room and see her sweet, smiling face I swim in the deluge of emotions that come out of me and fill the room. When she is inconsolable and my arms magnetically pull her wiggly body tighter into me even while she pushes away, I indulge in the rich warmth that spreads from my heart to my toes. When she is needy and whiney and annoys me, I rejoice over the still and steady affection in my bones for this little girl.

The weeks of depression were scary, but they were so very useful. I thank the Lord for letting me experience what it’s like to be a mother without all the warm and fuzzies. I can be pretty damn lazy and when you’re depressed that’s really all you want to be. But when you’re a mother and you’re depressed you don’t really get the option. Especially when you’re breastfeeding since the only way your baby will get any nutrients is if you get off your ass. You learn that your feelings – as intense as they may be – mean nothing. I can appreciate the emotions now because I was so scared I would never experience them again, but I no longer give them so much weight.

I know what love is. If it were in any way unclear before her birth and the postpartum darkness, I am sure now. Love is doing the right thing for another person no matter what. Even when I wanted nothing to do with her, I loved her. When I didn’t want to wake up, I still got out of bed. When I didn’t want to nurse, I still did it frequently. When I didn’t want to look at her, I still held her and tended to all of her needs. I am her Mother. Solidly. I have earned this. Nobody around me made me do it, people even offered to help {and they were a huge help}, but I mothered her. I didn’t do it because I tapped into some secret strength. I didn’t even do it because I had no choice. I did it because of Christ – He is the reason I mothered when I didn’t want to. He made me RJ’s Mother. He solidified my position.

Getting out of my depression meant letting go of the hope for higher days. I had to stop wishing I would experience the elation I felt in the first few days of RJ’s life and simply accept what I was experiencing in the present. Once I put aside the longing for those wonderful feelings, the bad feelings started fading. And you know what? I do experience those highs now. It isn’t constant, of course, but more often than I ever thought possible. I get to soak it in and enjoy it, but that isn’t where I find my strength or value.

God is love. That a mother would feel numb toward her baby is a perversion, but that she would do what has to be done regardless is active, redemptive Grace.

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