Friday, February 5, 2010

I didn't know

I didn't know that motherhood would cause my heart to swell up so big that every sad story I hear is seemingly felt on a personal level. In fact, every sad story that I hear is felt so deep, so viscerally - at least for a brief moment before I prevent my brain from going down that road - that I find myself unable to breath. Unable to stop the tears. Unable to fathom what I would be without Bella.

I didn't know that I would suddenly have my guard up all the time. I can no longer watch the news. Movies that include the death of a child, mom or spouse are so far off limits that I find myself sticking to G-rated movies or comedies. Books are screened to ensure the subject material won't set off this new and highly sensitive internal alarm. But I can't filter out life. Gritty, dirty, REAL life. Bad things happen to good people. Loss happens. Sad things happen. Death happens. I can't shut my eyes all the time.

I didn't know that I would be able to imagine all the ways I might lose her. The ways she could get hurt or harmed. The ways that might shift my life from one of utter contentment to utter despair. I didn't understand that there was a whole part of my brain just waiting to activate. A part of my brain that insists on showing me what could happen. What might happen.

I thought I knew. During pregnancy, I thought I knew how deep the love could go. I thought I understood that with that love would come a fear of loss. I thought I knew how big that loss could be. I thought I knew. And I was wrong.

And now I think I know. But do I? Or is this only the beginning?

So I do what I can to manage this new and frightening part of my life. I acknowledge the potential, but only briefly, before reverting my brain back to reality. I hug her a little tighter. I tell Husband that I love him. I remember to breathe. I remember that I have this moment and that, in this moment, everything is alright.

I don't think I'm alone in this. I don't think this means that something is wrong with me and that I am anxious or depressed.

I think it means that I am a mother.


  1. Wow, Laura - your words speak exactly what I am thinking! I never knew how having a child would affect me like this, but I feel the same way. I have these horrible thoughts sometimes about losing Jacob. My mind conjurs up scenarios that I have never thought of before. I even cried when I saw the newest little Duggar baby girl on TV the other day. Not quite sure what is wrong with me, but I think you are's just being a mother!

  2. Yes, for me too. It's so deep and reminds me, too, to enjoy every moment, including those 3 am feedings!

  3. After I had Brynn, I tried explaining my feelings to one of my friends - who was already a mother. Her response, "Being a mother means you wear your heart on the outside of your body. It's not protected, and everything hurts."

  4. Yes! I am not the only one that is in this mode 24/7. I make sure to kiss Olivia and tell her I love her every time we drive somewhere, just in case anything were to happen. I never let Jason leave home without a kiss and I love you for me and Olivia. I've always been the type that gets more worried and paranoid the happier I am because I'm afraid I'll lose it all.

  5. Laura,
    I know this blog was written weeks ago, but I am just now catching up. I am a friend of Val's and check in with your blog every couple of weeks. I love your writing.
    This post speaks so strongly to me. You are not alone in this. I can't watch the news. I turn off the radio in the car when it is news time. I only watch movies where I KNOW there is no great loss involved. I actually flashback to movies I have seen in the past that have the losses we are talking about.
    How to find a balance?
    It is just nice to know that I am not the only one going through this.