Saturday, March 14, 2009

Zero To One

My husband used to ask our child-blessed friends which was harder, going from one to two or two to three. I always wanted three. The general consensus was that once you have two, adding more was easy.

I had sailed through college, worked several years including two abroad, entered grad school and married soon after, all along nurturing a horde of hobbies: photography, guitar, hiking, Japanese, on went the list. I held onto my dream in the face of infertility and when I defended my master's thesis eight months pregnant, life was good.

True, I did not like holding, smelling, hearing, or even looking at babies. "It'll be different when it's your own," I'd been told. But countless hours spent in my blue rocking chair, bedroom door shut, weepy eyes studying a tiny suckling infant, heart aching desperately to love her with a fierce maternal bond did not make it so. I was a babysitter and not even a good one.

I lost myself in those postpartum months. Yet in the dark cocoon of depression I was being forever transformed. When at last I spread my wings to soar, I found joy and freedom and beauty in the flight. I discovered the height of a mother's love. I became a mom.

My third child was born this year, and I am happy. My whiteboard pen has been replaced by a feeding spoon, book pages by baby wipes, guitar picking fingers plucking cheerios from linoleum. Though at times I cast a wistful glance at the box of watercolors or the shelf of gourmet cookbooks, I am content to stash them away for a season of life that has redefined me. And I know that if I am ever asked whether it's harder going from one to two or two to three, I will have to say that my greatest challenge was going from zero to one.

Kristina Lim

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