I can still hear you say you will never break the chain ~ Fleetwood Mac The Chain.
At the risk of being labeled a bad mother, I confess that I did not feel joy on the day I brought my newborn daughter home from the hospital. I was grateful and happy to have a healthy baby girl, but I was severely depressed and majorly terrified –overwhelmed with the magnitude of the responsibility I was facing.
My confidence wavered as I tried unsuccessfully to wake a sleeping newborn to nurse. My nerves were shot and my hormones were going haywire. I couldn’t help feeling like a part of me was missing. She wasn’t missing –she was in my arms, but it wasn’t the same, and I mourned the feeling of life moving within me.
Even though I’d anxiously waited for my due date for nine months and longed to hold my baby, I ached with emptiness. Any joy I felt at holding my newborn drowned under the sorrow I felt at losing our physical bond.
Thankfully breastfeeding reestablished the physical connection I needed to move past the ‘post-partum depression’ or ‘baby blues’ I experienced after Monkey was born. Although two weeks after we’d been home, when the remainder of her umbilical cord fell off (the last tangible evidence of our physical connection), I cried –a lot.
When Monkey stopped breastfeeding, the sense of loss and detachment returned, although not as fiercely as before since she clung to me 24/7, or so it seemed at the time. Monkey made it easy to remember she needed me. I was blessed and fortunate enough to be home with her and if we were ever apart, her daddy or grandparents were there to watch her and would fill me in (whether willingly or with endless questioning) on every cute and rotten thing she did.
Last Tuesday Monkey started preschool and for the first time in her life I wasn’t there to observe everything she said and did, nor was I able to wring out every detail from her nursery school teacher. This turned out to be more difficult for me to handle than I had expected. I cried when I left her in her classroom. I cried when I got home. I felt alone. The house seemed so empty and lonely. Something was missing. It was the same feeling I had when I got home from the hospital three years ago, only this time, there was no infant snuggled against my chest. I cried harder. This was it. Our lives had diverged and our bond was gone.
I truly felt too miserable to go for a run, especially since Monkey had been joining me on Tuesdays in the stroller. But when I’m miserable, that’s the perfect time for a run, so out the door I went.
It had been raining and dark clouds hovered overhead. As my body relaxed into the rhythm of running, thoughts about Monkey moved through my mind: how inseparable we’d been for the last three years; how it seemed like the chain of family members that had always linked us together had been cut; imagining there was a chain hanging heavy around my waist, a swinging, severed end banging against my leg as I ran.
Digging deep I searched for something positive. Well, at least the pre-school was at the church and her grandparents were across the hall at choir practice. It was some consolation. As I contemplated the church, I heard God whisper to me, “I am the link in the chain between you that can never be broken.”
I looked at my watch; it was 11:00 A.M. A powerful surge of love and faith revived and strengthened our invisible bond. I imagined being a fly on the wall of the preschool classroom and hearing Monkey say, “I want ‘bobo’(her security blanket). Where’s my ‘bobo’?”
For the first time since my daughter was born, I understood that we would always be united in Christ and experienced the power of that union.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for comforting me with your words in my time of need. I feel so unworthy, so blessed and so humbled. May I always find time to open myself to Your whispers. Amen.