For the first few months after Rhys and Quin were born, I was certain that throughout the world and throughout history, no mother had ever loved her babies as I loved mine. This thought wasn’t a reflection of my opinions about other mothers, it was simply a matter of capacity andan irrational certainty that lovingmy babies any more than I already did would cause the universe to explode into a hundred billion pieces of sopping, heavy heart. I wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of motherhood; the idea that other mothers felt the way that I felt and were able to pull it together and function was completely incomprehensible to me. Ilookedout at the world, feeling perplexed and at a total loss intrying to make sense of the suddenly re-writtenfamiliar. Images I’ve seen hundreds, thousands of times immediately took on new meaning. Commercials about the starving children in Africa, news stories about a runaway teenage boy, television dramas about kidnappings and murders. Although I’ve always considered myself a compassionate person,it suddenly seemed as though my former self must have been a cold and heartless shell of a human being to be able to stomach these ideas withouturgentlyforming what hadrecentlybecomemy inescapable conclusion:somebody’s baby. That is somebody’s baby.
As time has passed, I’ve become slightly more acclimated tothe experience of being a mother. Of creating life and loving beyond the bounds of understanding. I have come to realize that as much as I love my babies, it is not only possible, but in fact quite likely that other motherslove their babies just as much. Initially, that realization stung a bit. Then the stinging turned into an emphatic,“huh.” And now amazement. What a collective power.
I suppose that’s what knocked me off my center in the first place. Human beings. Creating them. Raising them. Loving them. The impact that we make on the world and on one another. Single influential individuals, good and evil. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Hitler.Joint movements for change. The Emancipation Proclamation. The suffragettes. The daily fabric of our world, individual lives woven together in a delicateyet inescapablechain reaction. It’s not just about mothers. It’s about all of us and all of our actions and all of thebeautiful andmundane details of life. But right now I can only speak as a mother. I want to hold on to this moment; here, where I sit and see the magnitude of what I hold in my hands. Two babies, for whom I simply want peace and love and true happiness. Two babies, who make me want to mold the world into a place that welcomes and nurtures and is safe.
I know that in time I may become desensitized. We haven’t hit the terrible twos yet. I have never attempted to parent a teenager. Just as I’ve slowly come to realize that the universe is not in danger of explosion under the pressure of my love,perhaps in time I will feel at ease with the fragility of it all. But for now I am here. Writing to ask myself to rememberwhat it felt like, peering out at the worldwith my babies wrapped tightly in my arms.