Post-partum depression, people say, and I nod but I don't know. So much more happened than just having a baby (which is hardly a "just"). I gained and lost more than the parts that most women gain and lose when they have a baby.
In that year, I lost my safety and security, pieces of my identity, even my home. Some of it was taken, and some of it I just gave up and walked away, the effort to hold on no longer worthwhile.
And yet I wish . . . I wish I had looked into my daughter's face and felt peace and hope, not terror. I wish those baby smiles had brought joy, and not just a temporary abeyance of fear. I wish I'd loved her as well on the inside as I did on the outside.
Now I carry another little one, a tiny soul who needs a mother who knows who she is, and I still don't know. I wonder, sometimes, what I'll see when I look in this set of eyes.
I suppose that's what love is, at this stage: wondering who this child will be and how I will respond, wondering what it will be like to hold another baby, wondering what our family will look like when another little soul joins us.
It's a weird love, complete and yet entirely uncompleted, present and yet so dependent on the future. I know myself here, even though having another child means becoming lost again. We will wander for a while, I suppose, and then we will know ourselves. Stronger, because there's strength in the wandering.