This post is real and beautiful. I love her honesty in sharing her emotions.
I often remember the moment, when I first held you in my arms: my heart beating a thousand beats a minute, my mind spinning with the many new emotions of this one moment, which would change my life forever; in that first second, when I tried to take you in all at once, searching your tiny, sleeping face for something familiar, that would spark off the firework of love that I had anticipated so many times in the days and weeks waiting for your arrival, in that split second I realised, everything was different from what I had thought it would be.
And as I was forced to drop all my expectations, judgements and assumptions, I started to understand that my love for you – like any force of nature – would make its appearance on its own terms. I could not build or model it on any previous experience and literally had to start from scratch together with you.
The wiser part of me knew without a doubt that it was there and as much a part of me as my breath and my heartbeat – but sitting on that sofa with a whole new life in my arms, not feeling what I had expected to feel, I simply panicked.
The panic did not leave me over the next few days. It got company instead: A strange sadness took hold of me, something primal with no words and no pictures to describe or explain it, just waves and waves of feeling washing over me. Feelings of fear and separation coming from a place and a time, when I had no speech and no understanding.
I don’t know who cried more during these first days we had together, you or I! In the few moments between holding you, feeding you, bathing you and trying to put you to sleep, I walked around in previously familiar rooms like a survivor of my own personal tsunami, feeling disoriented, sifting through the debris trying to identify familiar pieces of myself.
Then, slowly and almost unnoticeable at first, like a sunrise on a misty winter day, everything changed again, and the first beams of love reached me, totally new and unexpected! I knew then that I could do this, I could begin my journey as your mother, stepping into the unknown and simply trust what you in your wisdom had known all along: that we were both exactly where we were meant to be.
Of course, being my own life long prophet of doom, I managed to slip back a couple of times, and there were – and sometimes still are – moments of deep insecurity when I feel, I am not the mother you deserve.
But mostly I stopped expecting of myself to be and feel a certain way and – for the first time since I can remember – I allowed my feelings to reveal themselves to me, instead of trying to anticipate or control them.
Since then, there is a moment in every day, when I think of you or look at you and my whole being simply dissolves into love. It is the most basic and joyful experience of my life – and I don’t have to do anything in order to earn or deserve it.
What you taught me is that simple: Love can’t be planned or controlled or willed into existence or even anticipated. It just is. And it is in all those random moments that make our life together. It is there, in the perfect curve of your mouth smiling, in the shadow your eyelashes trace on your cheeks, when you are asleep. It spills over in your giggles from the back of my car, when you sing silly songs with your sister and it lives in the corner of your room, where you set up a picnic for your dolls this morning. It is new every day and it teaches me to be curious again.
So from the deepest, wisest part of me, where all that love patiently waited for me to catch up, I thank you for being my child today and teaching me every day how to simply be.
* The post was originally posted on the Cape Town Adoption Support website. You can read it here.