Friday, February 8, 2013

Unseen Walls

When I became pregnant with my first-born, I heard so many mothers express their excitement.
"The minute they're placed into your arms, you'll feel so much love... it just overwhelms you," they said.

I'd heard my own Mom talk about the love that comes with the birth of a child, and I was anxiously awaiting my turn to feel the Mother Love.  And after laboring for 18 hours under insurmountable drugs and pushing for almost an hour to get my posterior-positioned baby out... I didn't feel much of anything except RELIEF and TIREDNESS.
I didn't want to hold my baby so much as I wanted sleep. The drugs made it impossible to fight off sleep, so I drifted off -no baby in my arms.

The minutes, days, weeks, and months that followed were full of gross amounts of anxiety, virtually no sleep, and a cute-but-colicky baby.
When our baby was three days old, my husband left for the police academy, and I spent the next four months at home with our very fussy baby.
My husband was in the thick of his addiction.  I was in the thick of my addiction TO his addiction.  The distance (and the fact that he was in a dorm room) only increased my addiction.
I was also in the thick of new mommy.
I spent my day getting screamed at.
My husband spent his getting screamed at by academy instructors with a background in military boot camp training.
At the end of each day, we'd connect on our cell phones, and our conversations were pretty pathetic.
Because I'd lost my bubbliness and can-do attitude, my husband began to worry about me and the way I was handling our new one.
"I'm just worried that you don't love her," he once said.
He shouldn't have said that.  I think he realized it a few minutes after I turned into a Lioness.
But anyway. 
I DID love my daughter, despite her talent for screaming for -I kid you not -7 hours straight.
About 22 months later, I found myself in labor again... this time there was no drugs.  Labor was 2 hours instead of 18, and I pushed twice... instead of for nearly an hour.
This time -I thought -THIS TIME I will feel the Mother Love -the washing over, the overwhelming, unable to put into words MOTHER LOVE.
Instead I felt shock (he was a month early).
But I DID love my son.

Behind the mothering scenes, I was busy.  I was actively policing my husband, checking his phone, knocking on the bathroom door, checking browser histories, asking, snooping, prying, accusing...
I had an addiction.

There were no children for a few years.  During those years, I hit rock bottom and detached from my husband's addiction.  I started the road to recovery.
I quit trying to "help."  I quit policing. 
I went through a period of half a year where I cried, erupted at any given moment.  Sometimes I couldn't get out of bed.  Sometimes I couldn't fold laundry.  Sometimes all I could do was eat cookie dough and bless the person who invented the idea of instant movie and television streaming because my kids were getting bored of watching their movies over and over and over...

One year later, my husband told me he felt it was time to have another one.  I disagreed.
After a lot of praying, talking, praying, talking... we decided to try.  I wasn't ready, Heavenly Father knew it, and it took us almost a year to get pregnant for which I will forever be grateful.
I wasn't strong enough to stand my ground and follow my gut that was telling me, "Not now -not yet."
Those eight months gave me time to prepare -mentally, physically (I'd gained 10 pounds during The Cookie Dough Year), spiritually...

And I found myself in labor again.
It was three hours long, no drugs, two pushes (? maybe one?  maybe three?) and so. much. pain!  Again, I was trying to give birth to a baby in the posterior position... when I was handed my new baby girl, I was in so much pain I couldn't FEEL anything through it.
But after the pain meds kicked in... after I'd had a chance to eat something and take a restful power nap: I was moved into another (quieter) room.  My husband left with his mother for a while, and it was just My Mom, My Baby, and Me.
And THERE it was.
It washed over me, and I looked at the perfect and precious spirit in my arms and I was completely overwhelmed.
I couldn't believe it.

The Mother Love has continued to wash over me -time and time again.  When I wake up in the morning and see her tired, squishy face... when we nap together, when she smiles, when I smell her...

My mom told me she could always feel our spirits -how they felt so much bigger than our little bodies.
"But you know what I mean," she said, referring to my own kids and mothering experience.
"No," I shook my head.  I'd never felt it.

But that day -12/12/12 in a sterilized hospital -I felt it.  My baby wasn't actually a baby.  I felt it -her spirit is bigger than any physical containment.
I felt a little guilty over the difference I'd felt with this one -was she my favorite?  Would I treat her like a princess and leave my other two kids in the dust?

But as the days and weeks have gone on, I've felt washed over not only with my new one... but with my other two as well.  I can feel their spirits like I never have before.

My addiction had put up walls of protection.  I'd felt like I was protecting myself when I was policing... if I stopped his addiction, I could stop the pain.  It made perfect sense... except.
I didn't realize that as I was trying to protect myself, I was building walls.  I build walls of protection so high -so thick... that I inadvertently kept out love.  I had lost the ability to properly love others, to properly love myself.
I'm knocking those walls down now.

And it's harrowing to see what I've missed out on.
But thank goodness -thank GOODNESS -the walls are coming down. 

Love is worth pounding down every wall in it's path... no matter how painful, no matter how much cookie dough and weight gain, no matter the cost:
Those little fingers are some of my biggest blessings.


  1. Precious...just precious! Love you Alicia:) Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I needed this today!

  2. Beautiful post Alicia. Love your insight on this...definitely gives me something to think about.

    1. Babies and kiddos have a fun way of teaching us so much!!

  3. I have thought about this a lot lately - well, the last part. The past 6 months, I have started to view my children as burdens or obstacles to my relationship. What the heck!? But now that I am detaching in a BIG way, I see them for who they are. I'm so glad!

    1. I want to come see you. Seriously. How much would it cost to make it happen? :)

  4. i have so much love for this. It's beautiful Alicia. we're the escorts from heaven to earth. Child birth has been my favorite life experience.

    1. I LOVE that -escorts from heaven to earth. Beautiful.

  5. I remember feeling that lack of motherlove in the delivery room with my first. I even silently thought, "she is not even that cute!" Oh the horror. (Goes to show what being squished through a birth canal can to do to ya.) But the love was there, and grows everyday. I love being a mom. Thanks for your writing.