April in Glenwood: Baby, what a year
There’s a book I read my 1-year-old before bedtime that makes me tear up every time.
Best seller “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman is special to me. Her sweet prose puts into words exactly how I feel about the night — technically early morning — I became a mother.
“On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same,’” she wrote. “Because there had never been anyone like you … Ever in the world.”
Nancy is so right, in so many ways.
On July 18, we’ll celebrate a year that has changed my life forever. Without sounding too melodramatic, motherhood has completely altered my being. In a single year I’ve seen love in an entirely different perspective — what I consider the emotion in its purest form. The feeling came as natural as my knack for remembering people.
Many pregnant mothers — and I’m one of them — will tell you they fall in love with the child growing in the womb well before they ever meet on the baby’s birthday. That unconditional love is what creates intimate relationships within our species, ties families together through hard times, and helps us make commitments that grow through trust and devotion.
Before I found this love, I admittedly was unsure I could truly commit to love. Now I wouldn’t even think twice to put Will’s needs before my own. Babies and children depend on that love and nurturing from their mothers, and fathers, too. I’ll always do everything in my power to build the groundwork needed to help him grow and flourish in life. That goes back to the ways I’m experiencing love in his purest form.
When I first learned I was pregnant with Will, I had this silly fear I wouldn’t have that maternal intuition needed to be a good mother. I had been single for so long, and lacked the experience of being responsible for the care of a tiny human being, that I panicked.
I asked, “What if I don’t know what to do? How will I be able to handle all this love without worrying all the time?” Looking back, it was mostly those nutty pregnancy hormones that clouded my judgment. Will’s dad easily talked me down, telling me he knew I would be great. That I would sometimes know what to do, and sometimes not. That I shouldn’t worry about worrying.
Everything would be all right.
I try to remember how I felt before the early hours of July 18, 2015. I know I worried. Even though only a year has passed, those memories of the emotions — especially the fear — of labor are somewhat hazy. Sure I was afraid, but I was also extremely excited to be meeting my little baby soulmate. It’s been said that women are genetically engineered to forget the trauma of childbirth so they are able to continue having children. I’m not sure the accuracy of that, since I haven’t felt inclined to repeat our experience. My age may have a little bit to do with that. I do know I was engineered to remain calm throughout Will’s birth and keep the faith that we would both be O.K.
I may not have realized it the night I was in labor, and the morning Will was born, but we were preparing for the experience ahead. Once Will arrived, we had months of growing and maturing together, learning that life is magical and mysterious, and it would never be the same. I can’t read or watch a sad news story about kids and babies without feeling the mothers’ pain. There’s fear and panic still involved as Will learns to walk and eat solid food — luckily I have some Red Cross training under my belt from my days working in the solar industry. But mostly there’s an overwhelming sense of unconditional love, a love that makes me cry when I read a sentimental children’s book. A feeling I have every moment of my being. Because there has never been anyone like him in the world.
And life will never be the same.
April E. Clark is trying to plan a first birthday party without crying like a baby. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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