“Do you want to stay one night,” she asked, “or two?”
“Well…,” I started to say, and my face and tone must have communicated that I had no idea.
“I usually recommend that first time moms stay two nights,” she said. And that was that.
Willa went to the nursery for a four-hour stretch each night. Food was a phone call away. When I needed water, ice, or pain pills, a button on my bed brought a nurse or med tech. A lactation consultant visited every day.
I could barely take care of myself, let alone this tiny new life. It was a tremendous relief to have such good help.
By the time Willa and I went home from the hospital, the medical staff’s care had given me enough of a boost that I could imagine taking care of myself, and feeding Willa.
But I remember feeling like I would never again be able to do anything more than that.
I couldn’t imagine ever again having the energy—or time—to cook, or clean, or write.
And yet here I am today, writing. The condo looks like a disaster area, but there’s bread baking in the breadmaker, and two kinds of soup are simmering on the stove.
We’ve learned the hard way that babies go through growth spurts. During these spurts, Willa is more fussy, and needs to nurse more often. But in the other side of each growth spurt, she’s grown (physically and mentally), and my milk supply has expanded.
It’s a good metaphor for how our capacity to love expands. A demand for more love presents itself. We feel like we couldn’t, possibly, meet the demand. But we try. And the effort enlarges our hearts.