24 August 2006

Unpublished symptom of motherhood: Increased sensitivity to darkness

I remember being about five months pregnant with Annalivia when the sensitivity to darkness hit me hard. We had gotten a subscription to Time Magazine with an order of maternity clothes, of all things, and as one who actually enjoys knowing what is going on in the world, I read the first issue pretty voraciously. Skip ahead five hours and you would have found me huddled in bed, sobbing, trying not to let Dennis hear my tears for the child of a murdered mother, the story of whom was detailed in the issue.
I thought it was just hormonal surges for the next three months that had me asking Dennis as he began a tale of current events, "Does this story end well?" before he was allowed to continue, turning off the radio at the sound of any report from the middle East, and avoiding the television after 8 p.m. just in case I stumbled into one of those forensic science or special victims unit shows.
What truly surprised me was that post-partum motherhood, if anything, only made the sensitivity greater. Having actually nurtured another body and shielded another little spirit within my own, it was difficult to hear tales of any human suffering. I remember telling my mother in the first weeks after Annalivia's birth that I didn't understand how women could become mothers and not believe in God; surely if anything turns one to prayer, it is facing the prospect of raising one's children in this broken world.
Since then I've decided that motherhood is not only a breaking apart of one's body to bear another into this world, it is a breaking apart of one's heart to allow others into one's own world. As mothers our lives are not our own and, for the most part, that's a good thing. But it is also difficult. Part of our hearts are always walking around about six feet or six hours or six days from us in the children we love. One can't guard one's heart as well, when one has given it to another. And it is much harder to see others' hearts as expendible when one recognizes another as someone's child and therefore a keeper of someone else's heart.
So as the unavoidable info about the Jon Benet case is published amidst stories of burials for six-month olds in Lebanon and news of the struggles of dear friends dealing with the loss of their little one, I find my heart full and often breaking with this news of darkness. Sometimes it is a struggle to fill the cracks with luminescence again. But then I find myself clinging to my daughter, pressing kisses into her temple, breathing in her scent and letting the sound of her fill my ears. And I pray for the Light to surround us all ... and soon.
"I saw Eternity the other night
Like a great Ring of pure and endless light,
All calm as it was bright ;"
~ from The World by Henry Vaughn

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi! my name is elizabeth_anne and i followed your blog link from choosing home. i LOVE your blogs. this: "Since then I've decided that motherhood is not only a breaking apart of one's body to bear another into this world, it is a breaking apart of one's heart to allow others into one's own world." had me nodded so hard in agreement. i am also a momma and i can't watch much on tv, or movies or read things happening without feeling scared myself. pryaer. prayer. prayer. i choose to cover my children in so much prayer every morning. and yet...a borken world is where we live. sigh. thanks for your honest words. i'm glad i'm not the only one so "sensitive to darkness" after becoming a mother.
~liz

Jim and Amy Rennie said...

Sometimes our worlds can be broken even when we pray, and we can't figure out why. All I know is that God cares for our babies, both here on earth and in Heaven, and Annalivia is lucky to have such a Godly and loving mother.

Crystal said...

Hi April thanks for posting about your friend! I'm praying for her and her husband and I left her a comment too. =)

April said...

"Sometimes our worlds can be broken even when we pray, and we can't figure out why."
My dear friend, I don't know why, either. Prayer is protection and not certainty, but I wish it were...

Elizabeth_Anne, the same elizabeth_anne from the CH forums? It's nice to have new visitors. Thanks for stopping by!

Crystal, thank you for your prayers.

Anonymous said...

(yes, the same e_a from the choosing home forums! i love what you post there, so i followed your blog link...)

" "Sometimes our worlds can be broken even when we pray, and we can't figure out why."
My dear friend, I don't know why, either. Prayer is protection and not certainty, but I wish it were... "

amen!
~liz

whimsy said...

Yep, once you are a mother you are inexplicably (sp) linked to every other mother in the world. It's amazing and scary eh?