The encouraging words of the nurses became distant and faint to me as I pushed with all my strength to give birth to our daughter. The ninety minutes that went by seemed like an eternity. Staring at the clock on the wall and watching the minutes go by, was excruciating. But I still had joy in my heart because my lifelong dream was about to come true–I was going to be a mother!
I came from a long line of good mothers. My mom and I were always best friends and she and my Noni, (her mother) before that and my Noni and great grandmother, (her mother) before that. To me, growing up, I viewed them as saintly women. Could I live up to the challenge and to their legacy? I had joy in my heart at the thought of becoming a mother too, yet I was scared. Not just because of the physical pain but even worse, the emotional pain. To my baby that I was giving birth to, she would soon no longer be inside of me and with me all the time. There would come a day soon that she would say no. There would come a day that she may rebel. There would come a day that she would no longer desire to be around me. And worst of all, I would be giving birth to my child that would one day, not be in this world anymore and one day, I would have to give her back to God. The thought of that hurt me more than anything. True love hurts!
“True love is love that causes us pain, that hurts and yet brings us joy. That is why we must pray to God and ask Him to give us the courage to love.” ~Mother Teresa~
I think this complicated emotion is one that only mothers can feel. Especially becoming a first time mother, this emotion in strong. To anyone that has broken a bone or had their heart broken, childbirth is somewhat like that, but at the same time. The pain is such that it feels like every bone is breaking but your heart hurts because you know that you will never experience such love like this in your life. After the sweat, the tears, the blood, the pushes and the screams, the doctor handed my daughter to me and we felt skin to skin contact for the first time. The loud cry that came from the depths of my heart, was so loud. I couldn’t contain the tears. I cried so much, I wasn’t sure I even had more tears to cry. My baby was here. I was a mother! No longer by myself in this life. Not only did I have my husband but now our love gave us a plus one to our family. We were now a FAMILY! My dream since I was a little girl had now come true and even through the extra blood and stitches, I didn’t feel anything. All I can remember at that moment was how much I loved her that it hurt and caused physical pain to my heart.
When she was cleaned, swaddled and asleep, I couldn’t stop staring at her. Our hearts were one. Though our bodies were now separated, we would never be apart. There would never be a time in my life that I wouldn’t or couldn’t love her. I knew then that my heart would only beat for her. I would live for her and sacrifice for her. I knew then that the pain I had just endured was worth it. I would have gladly gone through it again just to see her face and feel her touch. Never in my life have I experienced such pain but yet never such love!
Being a mother can be painful. It was from the beginning! But maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s why God made it that way. Wouldn’t Christ’s love for us hurt so much as He expired on the cross for us?! As I bled and my flesh tore to give birth, to put her life before mine, I understood in the smallest way, Christ’s love for us. True love hurts! It must!
The love and the bond between a mother and child can never be expressed or understood until you experience it for yourself. A year and a half has gone by and now my experience as a mother, has changed. There is joy in watching her grow, seeing her every new discovery and seeing her facial features change as she gets older. But yet there is a great pain for me in watching her grow…closer to the day she would start school, closer to her graduation, her wedding day and so on. But there is another pain that mothers experience that maybe a lot of mothers don’t think about too often: the fear and the pain of thought in one day no longer being in her life. The pain of knowing that someday she would move on in her life without me.
I pray that my example and my undying love for her and the memory of me would only give her the courage to love as I did. True love does require courage and sacrifice and pain. I thank God for the path He set me on that led me to motherhood. Such pain that I will never forget but I will never forget such love and joy. But really, after that experience and what I have further learned in my journey of motherhood, the best and the truest type of love is the kind that hurts. It’s a small shadow of Christ’s love for us!