I was listening to a podcast on my morning walk with Lewis, and the person talking described holding their baby for the first time as their heart exploded. I had heard that before giving birth, and fully expected that to be the case for me, but my heart kind of did the opposite.
There were a lot of factors that led me to have post-partum depression. A stressful birthing situation in a hospital in a foreign country, where it’s easy to question the medical practices, with a baby who didn’t seem to fit into my expectations or any of the baby advice books, far away from family and mourning the loss of my previous life, oh and hormones. To not want to be with your new little baby is horrible and heartbreaking. Then on top of that, comes the shame and guilt that you have this beautiful baby and you aren’t happy when there are thousands of women who want a baby or have lost a baby. I felt like I couldn’t do it, and I wanted my old life back. I remember vividly sitting in my bed sobbing and actually screaming, “I can’t do this. I can’t feed him again! I don’t want to feed him!” I hate that memory. I still wish I could go back and change those months.
But as I walked through, those painful weeks, I was encountering the faithfulness of God in so many ways: connections with counselors, emails and calls from a high school friend who was walking with me, provision for my father-in-law to come, and the steadfast love of Travis. Everyday there was some way that God was whispering to me, “I’m still here in this with you.” But it was still so hard, and I wanted to know when I would feel heart exploding love for my son.
I was reminded of the heart exploding love tonight when I was singing him his goodnight song and he reached down to hold my finger, when I made him laugh really hard, when he couldn’t pick up his avocado because it was too slippery, when he concentrated on his toy with his little tongue out, and my heart swelled with love for my little boy. I remembered wondering if I would ever feel this way about him. At the time, it felt like I never would, but joy comes in the morning (my morning was just a couple of months away).