I sat on a park bench yesterday with a mother I'd supported in January and her baby boy, now six months.
'I love him,' she said. 'I love him in a way I can't describe.'
I knew what she meant. Remembered what she meant. Could see plain on her face the confounding, completing first encounter with unconditional love.
Can any feeling be more astonishing? And stranger still, the way it shyly slides in, almost unnoticed.
Exhaustion, frustration, boredom - those feelings closed in periodically too, as they always do. But continuous now those first mothering months had been moved through, was the peace that comes with all that purpose. The uncomplicated, certainty of you and your baby belonging to one another, and that is just that.
There's a tonne of talk about the moment we MEET our babies, anticipated euphoria, giddy first love, and some do feel this way. But that is not what we were talking about. What we named and marked and stopped to salute for a second, was the relationship. The slow-born bond. All those long days and longer nights of having to/wanting to/aching to/being compelled to be available to her baby.
Photo: Elliott Erwitt, The Family of Man