Motherly Love

How could I have ever predicted that I would fall head over heels in love with my daughter? People warned me, but I had my own ideas of what it would feel like. Pre-baby, I guess I imagined that Motherhood would exibit itself in different ways… such as thinking Kaia was adorable and irresistable and that I needed to feel responsible for her in terms of protecting her and raising her well.
I absolutely believe she is adorable and irresistable. And while I want to protect her, I never imagined that the NEED to do so was so innate, so primative and so deep. It's not what I would call a "responsibility"; rather, it's an instinct and it's impossible to quell. Suddently, walking down steps causes me to think "What if Kaia were in my arms and I tripped? How could I position myself so that she could break her landing by falling on me instead of the hard ground? Would I be able to react soon enough? If she got hurt, could I maintain my cool while I helped her?". My mind has created terrible and instant versions of situations in which Kaia could be harmed…these imagined moments stop the breath in my body and take me minutes to recover from. I think "How could I go on?" if something were to happen to her. I do not believe I am an overly protective Mother…however, I've been shocked at just how overwhelming the need to protect my child has been…whether it's comforting her when she cries, not allowing her to sit in a soiled diaper too long, or holding her tightly when I descend stairs. Alas, these past 15 weeks have proven to be ones in which Kaia has been thankfully safe and sound.
So, I never thought that loving my daughter would feel this way either. I mean, it's LOVE. Serious love. Like, "who cares if I'm entirely exausted and have spit up and poop stains on my clothes and have awakened 10 times in an hour to put your binky back in and can't seem to finish one task without tending to you and have listened to you wail at unnerving decibals for an unnerving 45 minutes on our drive across down and at the end of the day still am reduced to happy giddy bliss by your mere smile or the smell of your hair or the smoothness of your skin or the warmth and security of your snoozing body against mine" type of love. Oh, I forgot the "now I wear flip-flops and don't even care and experienced life without makeup for 5 weeks straight and have gotten to where I actually understand your goo-goo-ga-ga's and prefer them to plain English" type of love. I guess mostly it's a truly tender, bittersweet love that floors me. It is overflowing. Tenderness isn't something that ever came easy to me. But when that squiggly almost 7 pounder emerged from my body, I suddenly became tender. Nurturing and patient (OK, so maybe only with her).
Lately, I've been pathetically anxious and dreadfully in denial about returning to work on October 24th. I cannot fathom a life other than that in which I've been living for 15 weeks with Kaia. One in which she does not leave my side. A life in which I can decipher her cries. I suspect that most Mom's go through days in which they cannot wait to put their child down for a nap. I know I do! Finally, some time alone all to yourself. Some time to relax. Or perhaps time to pick your puked-on clothes up from the spot in which you dropped them week only to find they've begun to grow some kind of mold (yep, it can happen). Some time to comtemplate your next meal when you suddenly recall that you didn't eat breakfast and that lunch was skipped due to a spontaneous nursing session. But ya know what's strange? I cannot wait to come to the rescue of that waking babe, to cradle her in my arms as she struggles to adjust her eyes to the light. I call out to her "Mama's coming!" and snatch her up into the crook of my neck as as I smother her chubby cheeks in kisses. She smiles because she knows me….because I know her…because leftover milk in her mouth is gonna find it's way onto my shoulder at any minute…and I won't mind a bit. I'll keep on bein' her Mama, believing that she's really truly vocalizing the phrase "I love you" when she is whiny and tired, and that she'll change the world someday, and that she's the cutest patootie around. Meanwhile, she'll keep stealing my heart and reminding me that Motherhood is the greatest, most gravity defying love on Earth.
I believe Kaia has always existed and lived within me and that she has just recently come to me in the form of a child so that I could experience true love with all my senses. "I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night." -from "Caligula"


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

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  2. Dad says:

    Dearest Leigh,

    And….. now you know what all loving mothers have known. Now you feel what I felt the first moment that I held you; your sister and your three brothers. Now you know what a loving parent will feel for evey day of their life until we take our last breath.

    My mother’s last words to me….three days before her impending death?

    …..”Be a good boy Bobby.”…..

    I was 37 years old!

    Loving you,


  3. Haley says:

    Leigh– Advice from a mommy returning to work……
    Don’t be afraid to cry (all day)
    Stay busy
    Keep plenty of pictures of her around you
    Call to check on her as much as possible
    Tell your co-workers EVERYTHING about her
    Use your pumping sessions to bond with her from a distance
    Know that it does get a little bit easier everyday… but the guilt never leaves.
    Good luck and please call me if you need anything! Hales–>

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