A friend asked me this weekend how it was that one had to learn to love one's baby. I always seem to be able to figure things out better when I have to talk about it, and I made a happy discovery as I answered his query.
I told him that while you do fall in love with your little bundle of joy the moment you lay eyes on them, it take a much longer time to really learn to Love them. A beautiful little stranger suddenly appears one day and demands of you your everything. You are willing to do whatever it takes to keep them happy, content and safe. Exhausted, often confused and worried, I was willing to get up and feed her, to walk out of a room of family and friends for an evening alone to provide comfort, to change the messy diaper instead of eating my hot dinner... But I would have preferred it, at the time, if those needs were not present right then. I did not necessarily want to hurry to meet those needs.
As I explained, I came to realize that I had entered a new phase of motherhood. As time has gone on, as I have learned to love my baby, I want to serve her. My willingness to meet her needs has become something else. Her needs have become my needs, and serving her has, to a large extent, become my pleasure. Getting up is not quite as hard, leaving the conversation is not quite as frustrating, staying home is not quite as lonely. Not to say that it is all easy now, but it sure is different. "Things are finally getting better" not because her needs are less, but because my heart is different.
I am not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but it sure was encouraging to realize.