It’s a lovely thing, having a baby. You have created a little person! It’s amazing to hold your baby in your arms and think, you didn’t exist before. You didn’t exist at all. And now here you are, a human in the making. And you’re mine.
Not that Ellie feels like “mine;” – when I had her, I felt more like she was a person who had come and taken residence with me, choosing to stay with me above all others. At first I could not believe that I had created her with my body, and continued to do so every time we fed her, changed her, kept her warm.
I love holding Ellie in my arms as she looks out on the world. After nursing her, she might rest back in my arms, content, and take in her surroundings, looking around in a lazy, accepting kind of way. She feels soft and warm and alive. She moves her head against my arm and I marvel at the feel of her fine hairs against my sleeve. What is she looking at? And what is she seeing? Shadows and light morphing into objects that exist outside of her? Or does she still feel like the lines between herself and her external reality are blurred, like the lead-pencil smudges of an artist on paper?
When she cries, and I pick her up and she is still. And when she wakes from a sleep and just looks at me, takes me in, and closes her eyes again, knowing she is safe, and held, and all is right in the world.
It is necessary for her to take me for granted. She should take her mother for granted. It means I am doing my job.
My heart is bigger since I had Ellie. My world has changed and my life is a completely different set of hours and days to what they were before. It is an adjustment to think of someone else constantly and always. It is change. But what else do we do with the hours? What else would I have done with my life – had a nice time, I suppose, thought and pondered and had friends and my husband, love of my life. This is a different sort of love, to love someone you are wholly responsible for. It is not easy and it is not always fun or enjoyable in the way that I may have measured other experiences in the past to determine whether to repeat them. It is more of a vocation than anything else I have done before.
The wonder of holding my baby in my arms. And she looks at me and knows she is safe. It expands my heart like a thousand flowers opening in the sun, like a trumpet calling for dawn, like a baby crying into the darkness and finding she is answered. Coming my baby. I’ll always answer.