The Surprise of Motherhood

Since having a baby, a few people have acted like I am in on a big secret. It's a secret that mothers love children in a strong and unique way, but now I know.

In a way, sure. Being a parent is unique. Not that YOU are unique as a parent, but that it's a different role than all the others in your life.

But...loving my child, even deeply, has not been a surprise. 

Maybe it's my individual personality- if I lower my guard enough to love you, it's going to be pretty deeply. I just don't have it in me to partly care for someone. So I can't say for sure that my capacity for loving my child is more than my capacity for loving anyone else.

But there is something that has been a surprise, and that is the pure joy that my child brings.

I'm not an overly emotional person. At least, not positive emotion. That sounds bad- it's really not. I just tend to be more thoughtful and introspective and stressed and analytical...rather than happy. When I feel, it tends to be deeply and the kind of feelings that others don't want to acknowledge.

But this kid makes me so. damn. happy.

She is a super smiley baby. As someone with a textbook RBF, I do not understand this habit of smiling all the time. But she does it- at the dogs (she LOVES the dogs), at me, at my husband, at her reflection, at her bottle, whatever. She smiles and my friggin' heart melts. Or grows like the Grinch. Maybe a combo, I don't know, it's hard to explain.

And it is so cool to see her learn. 

I mean...she used to just be a bean-looking shape in my stomach. Now she moves and thinks on her own. The first time she reached out to pet one of our dogs on her own, I almost lost it. It was so cool to see that first glimmer of independent thought and action.

To me, that has always been the appeal of kids. Maybe that sounds weird. But having this tiny little person and watching them grow is the ultimate mystery.

There are a lot of ways in which I am nothing like my parents. I'm the only one in my family who likes to read and enjoys getting an education, and all this started very early in life. So, while many people seem set on working to ensure everyone "matches" in a family, I'm so excited to see what unique features she brings to ours.

To me, that has been the big surprise- pure joy.

Not love, which...I'm sorry, it's a little insulting to assume someone is incapable of deep love.

The joy, though. That has been completely unique and overwhelming. 

1 comment

  1. One of the things I've found extremely insulting is the implication that you don't know deep love until you become a parent. I like how you talk about that here.

    The pure joy is, I'm sure, amazing! So glad for you.