Judah is difficult to put to bed tonight. He's tossing and turning, standing on his head, asking for cuddles, resting his head on my shoulder. Gazing into my eyes, I close them, he examines the lids to see if they flicker.
Our eyes lock. His searching, roving over my face. Mine intent on his. My thoughts begin to hum in my head.
Judah, I think,
You were so very wanted.
You began as a dream, then formed, a spark of life. You inhabited my body, then soft and blemish-free, delicately patterned. My hair hung long then, I was so very young. Wide-eyed and innocent and full of the joy that you were growing in me.
You took me, and you made me a mother.
I drifted through pregnancy in a dreamy daze. We took long naps together, we rode a bicycle in the spring sunshine. We read for hours in the garden in Elm street, novels of hope and love and inspiring things. We cuddled cats and went second-hand shopping for the things that you would need.
As you grew, I would sometimes get looks and comments, I hadn't realised how young I did look. I began to deflect these things with an almost imperceptible hardening of my spirit, an antithesis to my naive heart. One of my first experiences of being judged. I see now, this beginning of hardening was essential to becoming your mother.
You made me learn. You expanded my mind. I became fascinated with your progress, the effects your birth would have on you, on us. I wanted our meeting to be as beautiful and powerful as I knew it could be. I prepared, I learned, I grew. You grew. The inklings of another dream began to inhabit my subconscious and grow, just as you inhabited the womb,
I birthed you, in a heady baptism that swept through my mind and body and left all traces of my old self behind. I saw the past and future reflected in the surges that pulsed through us and we found our release in the depths of the water. We joined the history of all mothers and babies throughout time who had made this journey together. You made me a mother.
You were new, I fed you from my body, held you close when you cried, watched you while you slept. I learned the indignity of motherhood, the mammalian reality. The sweat and the milk and the blood. The purple lines like tree branches arching over the curves of my stomach, the evidence that you had made me your home. I re-examined my ideals of artificial beauty and found a new meaning in being your mother.
I loved you instinctively, without reason. The smell of your head. My pride in your accomplishments, my happy boy. You surveyed the world from your safe spot on my chest, then later my back. We explored the world together. I wanted to show you high mountains and deep forests, wanted you to smell the sea and feel the sun on your face. The world gained new meaning when I became your mother.
You gave me a dream and a strong desire to help. No longer could I separate myself from the beautiful intricacies of birth and motherhood. The work I do brings me a fulfilment like no other. You inspired me.
Then one day, you spoke so innocently, my casual observer to the depths I had allowed my life to become. I knew then you deserved better from me. You saved me.
You transformed me.
Thank you for choosing me to be your mother.