This I Believe

Molly - Endwell, New York
Entered on March 20, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family

The Love You Save May Be Your Own

Think about all the various types of love. There’s the love you have for your parents, the love you lavish on your significant other, the love you reserve for friendships, the love you possess for cherished pets, and then quite apart from all of them is the love you save for your child. Which may, if you’re like me, ultimately end up saving you.

This love is so encompassing, so enrapturing that it is impossible for me to fully articulate. I became acutely aware of this bizarre sensation—of not being able to describe the depths of my feeling—at precisely 6:13 a.m. on September 23, 2005. When the doctor handed me my baby—my son—it was like I was instantaneously filled up with this knowledge, this understanding that my only obligation to anyone anywhere was to my child. I was born to love him. Everything else simply ceased to matter.

Being a mom has allowed me to examine my life: the choices I make, my reasons for doing so, the consequences I may incur as a result. Having a child has brought everything in my life into clearer focus. I now know that to be the best mother I can be, I first have to be the best version of myself. Taking care of Will means taking care of me.

Hurtful things happen to everyone. It is unfair that some of the most painful events take place in childhood, but unfortunately this is often the case. But it wasn’t until I had a child of my own that I began to understand the significance of dealing with my past. I grew tired of bearing the burden of my youth, and by the time Will was born, I was more than ready to extricate myself from the damage I suffered as a little girl. More important than the things that happened was the realization that while I wasn’t to blame for any of them, I was responsible for coming to grips with them. I know that if it hadn’t been for Will—if I didn’t have some reason outside myself to concentrate on—this epiphany could not have transpired. In order to protect him, nurture him, indeed to love him, I needed to do all those things for myself.

My son does not yet know how remarkable he is. He is blissfully unaware that his mere existence has caused a radical shift in his mother’s life. He cannot comprehend that simply by needing my love, he propelled me towards healing. He is too young to understand that sometimes the love you save may be your own. This I believe.