Meeting her

by Carolijn Braeken

Those final weeks were odd, almost alienating.

The world stood still in my heart, head, and entire body. There was nothing left to do, then to wait for her. A rare calm, an untamable strength. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I noticed a white haze surrounding my body. The embodiment of my bubble – invisible for the world around me, noticed only by me.

The calmness was interrupted at times by the other little girl, the one that made me a mother two years ago. My biggest love, my whole heart. A heartbreaking guilt towards her, towards the little human waiting in my body. Having to say ‘no’ countless times, the lack of energy, the mental isolation. The fear of not being capable to love another child as much as the first one. The unknown.

Though well aware of the force and wisdom of nature. The coming and going of clichés, a familiarity during the years of motherhood. Daring to trust myself, my body, mother nature, my mother instinct. All those generations of women, millions of years ago, entire families being born. But during those final weeks, it didn’t feel that way. Not yet anyway. I was too tired, too scared, too insecure.

Surrender

The little girl in my belly was ready to be born. My body knew, my mind was busy preparing. I cleaned the house and went to bed early. I woke up at the prime of night with the first throbs warming my body. My own mother, prepared for my call, picked up the little girl still sound asleep in the room next to us. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fully relax, to focus on the little human about to make her entrance, as long as her big sister was still near. My mom hugged me and planted a soft kiss on my forehead. Wishing me luck, love, and strength, without using any words. As they closed the door, my body relaxed.

The dark clouds filled the sky, the sound of rain hitting the window drowned out by the sound of loud thunder. A dark room, my love next to me and the experienced hands of the midwives on my body. The dog waiting downstairs, guarding, barking at everyone passing by the house.

Meeting her

A primal force, floating through my body from the very beginning. So different than that first time. The waves of pain, my steady breathing absorbing most of it. The last adrenaline, the strong legs working like they never did before. The tireless arms, the warm hands catching her. The tiny wet body on my bare chest, the tears of happiness, her beautiful sound. Her little nose, short hairs, eyes closed. My thoughts and emotions. Our bodies meeting each other, two souls that have known each other for a long time. Forever engraved in my heart and mind, without any fog or any blurriness. Without distraction, without thoughts drifting off. Fully focused on her.

Because the mother in me was already born two years ago.

My whole heart

She is my daughter. My second child. The soul that has been with me all that time, the body that lived inside me for nine beautiful months. The love for her. Overwhelming, fragile, terrifyingly powerful. The connection, the recognition, meeting her. Forever together.

A bright light filled the room, the old wooden door squeaked. The little blonde girl standing in the door way. Waiting, running towards me after a gentle, consenting push from her grandmother. The gentle kiss on the forehead, a reunion rather than a meeting. Grown in the same body, both familiar with the same heartbeat, sounds and scents. An indestructible bond.

Two sisters.

My daughters.

Our girls.

My whole heart.