Everyone tells you about their labor experiences and then your trusted girlfriends tell you about the hideous mesh underwear that really is a life saver, the nonstop bleeding and how AMAZINGLY GOOD THAT FIRST SHOWER FEELS. Yet after you are all stitched up, put back together and ready to face the world again there is something missing. I feel as if I went in the hospital and came back out without my protective layer (not to be confused with the extra layer of padding around my body - that never did get lost and WHERE ON EARTH DID MY WAIST GO?).
This layer that prevents a person from feeling too much, crying at the drop of a hat, it's the layer that when scrapped off can bring about both intense joy and then at times intense pain. When scrapped off you find yourself facing the world just.....well, raw. And now, it's not just you, it's another little body that carries around all your hopes and dreams and love for them. When that little one feels anything......you do too. All the while, you have lost that second skin, that coating that makes life a bit simpler to navigate and you are raw to the stings and barbs of life.
There was a wedding a few months after Fia was born, a family friend wedding. One of our friends had a daughter who died when she was 19, she should have been at the wedding. I remember sitting in the church, tears streaming down my face because I was raw, broke apart by the fact that this beautiful girl wasn't here to share this moment. I thought of my own girl in that moment and thought of being left behind on this earth while she went on. It was too much, I wasn't sure how I would or could do it. I wrapped my arms around that mother and for a moment we shared the unfairness and sorrow of it. I didn't realize that having a child could cause so much feeling, so much aching that would leave me vulnerable for moments like this.
And yet, this removal of a layer brings such joy to the surface. I found myself, just yesterday, crying in the kitchen because I was filled with a sense of peace and happiness. Why? Because there was such beauty all around me. The dishwasher was humming, the light was shining in from the windows on our "new" hard wood floors, the garden was in full bloom - just brimming over with fresh produce and my children were making happy sounds throughout the house. I thought this is it, this is all I need. My home was happy, my heart was happy. Never before this peeling back had I been able to see, really see, all the blessings that life had to offer. I feel as if I was constantly searching for ways to fill my time, my heart. I don't think allowed myself to slow down, to drink in entire moments at a time.
Throughout this birthing and child raising process, God has brought me closer to His heart. He has stripped me of layers that I had built up. Layers that I built, meant to save myself. I wanted to save myself from ever really feeling, I wanted to be protected from all that goes along with giving parts of myself away. So God gave me these little ones - to save me from myself. To open up whole worlds of joy and beauty and pain that lead to a life worth living - not the safe one I was prepared to live.