My son is ten weeks old and he is just beginning to feel like my own child. I knew I birthed him – the stretch marks and hours of drug-free labor testified to that fact. But there was no magical moment of bonding in the hospital, no instantaneous sense of love and mommy-fierce protection. Friends, family, even strangers would say, “Isn’t it amazing how deeply you love them at first sight? How you would do anything for them?” I would smile and nod, cringing inside because I was lying. I did not feel that way. There were days when I would have done anything to put him back. Yet I did not feel comfortable to admit that to anyone but my husband and parents. All the fears and doubts I had about becoming a mom resurfaced and harassed me every day. I felt broken and incapable of being a loving mother.
Slowly, ever so slowly, I began to connect with Little Man. We began to find solutions for some of the early frustrations that kept me irritable and resentful. The post-partum depression medicine kicked in and provided my bruised emotions with some much needed relief. And more importantly I heard other women say the same tough things I was feeling. That motherhood is hard and bonding is not always instantaneous. That falling in love takes time. That I was not alone. There were late nights when tears streamed down my face as I read a blog post that touched the raw places in me, my body weary with breast-pumping and sleep deprivation and my heart numb with the weight of it all. God used a friend who, at the encouragement of my husband, was intentionally intrusive at a time when I was too lonely and scared to reach out. She stepped in, cared for me, and shared some of her own struggles with being a new mama in a way that gave me hope.
And in the background the gentle hand of that Great Comforter began to whisper words of love, peace and even joy in the dry places. The Spirit stirred in me in ways that I had not felt in over two and a half years. I was starting to breathe again. It is slow, faltering work using these atrophied heart muscles. God is gracious and His mercies are new every morning and these are the words I recite to myself on those days when my heart is too heavy to get out of bed. He is faithful and He will shape and grow me into the mama I never dreamed I would be.