Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A Matter of the Heart

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with my first child. In the mix of all the emotions was a fear. A tiny, unsettling, and lasting fear. Not fear of the daily duties of motherhood, or how it would change our young marriage. Not even fear that our baby wouldn't be healthy. I was afraid that although I might love our baby, that it wouldn't be enough. That I wouldn't be able to make room in my heart for another person, a person I could barely imagine. I did love the idea of our sweet little baby. Those two pink lines on the test somehow represented her heartbeat and mine, beating within my body. I  just couldn't imagine, in that first flush of life as a mess of symptoms how I would learn to love this little person. That fear persisted, a quiet bit of unrest in the back of my mind, until the day our baby girl was born.
The second she was born those fears were washing away in a flood of her tears and mine. She came out pink, crying, and more beautiful than I could have imagine. I wanted nothing more in that moment than to sit quietly and hold her forever while I memorized every part of her. I wanted to drown in the ocean of her bright blue eyes, that searched my face for comfort in this new world she'd be thrust into. I loved her. So deeply and truely. There is nothing like the love you have for your child in those first moments. It's so tangible you can breathe it in. My months of fear seemed laughable in the face of my overflowing joy.

When I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test for our second child, I was surprised to feel that same nagging fear come back. A little voice whispered in my ear that there couldn't be enough love for another. That the amount of love I had for our first child could never find its equal. I feared I would either forget my love for our first child in my overwhelming awe of a newborn, or simply feel nothing or not enough love for this new little life. This new version of my old fear haunted me, woke me up at night, and perused me by day over my entire pregnancy. When I was in labour, I was able to reach down and touch the top of his head while he was crowning. In that moment of life in waiting, I knew like a bolt of lightning that this child I hadn't even seen yet had a place in my heart, and I easily love him as much as I'd loved our daughter the moment I first saw her. When I was finally able to see my two children together the last vestiges of my doubt fell away. I knew, absolutely, without a doubt, that I loved them both deeply and equally. There was no second best. I had simply found love multiplied, not divided.

Today as I held my 4th child in my arms, finally quietly sleeping after a very busy morning, I was reminded again of my old fears. I'm finally starting to understand that the heart isn't made of stone. Just like our womb, the heart has the ability to stretch beyond our comprehension to make room for love enough for however many children we have. There are days that my attention span or even my patience may not be overflowing, but through all of it I never for a second could stop loving any one of my children. I truly believe that even if I had another 10 kids I would make room in my heart to love each of them with the same overhwelming, intense, and personal love.


  1. Beautiful. My mother, who had four kids was always asked, 'How do you divide your love among four kids?' and my mom would say, 'I don't divide it, I multiply it.'

    I think she got that from a Family Circus comic, but still.

    1. I think the Family Circus and your Mom were onto something. I had a hard time believing it until I was living it!