It took me longer to love you.
I want to say we connected the moment the oxygen rushed into your lungs, the second the nurse laid you on my chest, the first time your tiny fingers wrapped around mine.
But we didn’t. Or rather, I didn’t. I can’t speak for you.
You nursed well and often. You slept well. You cooed appropriately. You rolled on time, early even. The facebook pictures were great. “He’s a good baby,” I’d tell well-wishers, “Our family is complete.”
But this wasn’t the truth.
I had planned for the baby we lost before you. The baby who immediately lit up the home pregnancy test and was then observed as a tiny, wriggling bean on an ultrasound screen. The baby who died a few days later.
Postpartum depression affected the start of our relationship. I felt a lot of guilt about this, because this isn’t something I had with your older brother. He and I were thick as thieves from the very beginning. But you — we took longer, little boy.
You see, I wasn’t expecting you. I was expecting the baby we did not have. When that baby left, my heart shattered. When you came along, I wasn’t sure I could trust you to stick around, even though by all accounts you were perfectly healthy.
And so, the best way my hurting heart could cope, was keep you at a distance. To take care of you fully — to feed, to bathe, to clothe — but as an outsider.
Here is what time, and medication, and you have taught me.
I don’t know the number of anyone’s days, but I know that you’ve been with us for nearing 22 months and you are healthy and whole. In that time you have changed and grown; we’ve had scary moments in the ER and happily tearful moments when you finally took those first steps.
And you’re still here.
Medication is a godsend that helped me see you. It helped me love you. I can never thank enough the scientists and doctors who made help in the form of something easily accessible. It might not work or be necessary for everyone, but I’m incredibly grateful it works for me. It helps me love you.
And you’re still here.
You, you, you, tiny boy… you are full of spirit and humor. I watch you take in the world with an attitude of discovery and experience. I hear you sing songs and use the time after you are put to bed to wind down alone, away from the noise of other people. You are like me, so much.
You are here. You are here. You are here.
It took me longer to love you, precious one, but once I fell, I fell hard. I can’t say what life would have been like if I had not had a miscarriage before you, but I can say with some certainty that YOU, the you that you are, likely wouldn’t be here. And now, after our slow start, that is something I simply cannot imagine. You are mine. I can’t change our past, but I can live in our present. I can plan for our tomorrow. I can trust that God will be with us, you and I, and your brother and your dad, and whatever we face, it will never be faced alone.
This is what you have taught me. What you will continue to teach me.
It took me longer to love you, but I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.
And thanks for not holding it against me.
Love, your mama