I cannot speak for the fathers, for I obviously am not one. And I cannot speak for those women who have come to motherhood through adoption, although I hope to be among them in the future. And to be perfectly honest, no mother’s experience mirrors another, so I suppose I can only speak for myself but motherhood feels at times so strange and beautiful, like watching crystals form.
I look at my daughter, that phrase, my daughter, still foreign and clumsy in my mouth, and see her cells dividing and her lungs forming, her heart beating for the first time. I think of her looping enthusiastically in my belly, her soul affixing itself to the underside of her fingernails and gently onto the inside of her eyelids, waiting to feel and see the world outside. I remember her metamorphosis on the grainy monochrome ultrasound machine, from smudge, to tadpole, to all signs point to girl. I think of how she is this glorious piece of me that escaped one sticky night in July, although my body was not sure it was ready to let her go.
Now I adore the roundness of her cheeks, her soft weight on my chest as she naps and the curl of her toes as she dreams, maybe of warm milk or who she will be when she is grown. I live vicariously through her and looking at her, I look down upon myself laughing at things I might have blindly overlooked in a different time and finding joy hidden in the nooks of life; the flash of a camera, a cold winter wind, tiny socks warm from the dryer, a Christmas card tucked into a stack of advertisements , an invitation to dinner from a dear friend, my husband’s breath on my face when I wake in the night to check on the baby,a garbled text message from my father, the delicate curve of Harper’s ear. Her laughter bringing forth my own, inexplicably, fast and uncontrollable.