“Your heart expands when you have a baby.”
That’s the message we hear time and time again. Before kids, I would sigh when hearing this. Yeah, yeah. So you love your baby. I love my partner/dog/BFF/[insert beloved companion here]. I get it.
Fast forward five years and three kids. I SO did not get it.
It’s funny that the English language has so few words for “love.” We use the same word for the affection we feel towards our families as the passion we feel for our romantic partners.
And then there’s the love we feel for our children. The type of love that crashes down on us like a tidal wave as we stare in awe at the precious bundles we’ve created. As we instantly understand how the heart has no option other than to expand to accommodate the new intensity of emotions we’ve not yet experienced.
The euphoria of your baby’s arrival lasts long after her first cries. The impact of the love astounds you as you spend countless hours watching her breathe and cradling her head. You are amazed that your body helped facilitate this miracle and that now she’s here in front of you. You feel suddenly connected on a primal level to all the mothers before you, sharing this experience.
Never before have you felt a love so fierce that you would do literally anything to protect someone else. You now innately understand the maternal instinct of all species to attack anyone who dares threaten their babies. You will never be as carefree as you once were. You now enter every space with a critical eye, anticipating anything that could possibly go wrong to proactively protect the little human in your care.
Your heart develops a softer side. Even more delicate than before. A gentle affection that is tentative as you nuzzle a downy head and kiss tiny toes. Vulnerable as you weep when he cries and beam when he smiles. And sentimental as you savor every moment, vowing to commit each of them to memory, knowing full well that they are rushing by faster than you can grasp.
The bond of love is unbreakable. If nurtured, it miraculously grows even stronger, an invisible umbilical cord that continues to tether. You now understand what it feels like to be completed by another person. Physical closeness to your baby calms you. And the only time all is right with the world is when your baby is in your arms.
And you realize — this is it. The heart expansion they talk about. And how no volume of words can ever adequately describe it. So that’s why the one word—“love”—will have to suffice.
At Nesting Days, we know what that tidal-wave-crashing, heart-expanding love for your newborn feels like. That’s why we’re helping make the transition from womb to world a little bit easier, so you can embrace that, awe, tenderness, attachment—even the anxiety and vigilance—that only a skin-to-skin carrier can provide.
Faye is a mid-life mother of three who spends her time writing, chasing kids, and trying to get some sleep. She writes for The Huffington Post and her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamapedia, Modern Mom, Red Tricycle, and in other publications. She chronicles her experiences in making the leap to motherhood on her blog Leap of Faye. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.