I was very surprised to be struggling with "baby blues" or "postpartum depression" after our struggle with infertility and the tough road that is IVF. I assumed I would be untouched by those symptoms because our journey to parenthood was so different than most. How could I feel such a numbness after being blessed with the miracle of a lifetime? This letter was a turning point for me. Reflecting on the beauty of the sacrifices made along the way helped me return to joy and sparked a thought process that ultimately changed my entire perspective of the cross and God's love for me and for all of us. The letter below is *deeply* personal to me, so much so that posting it makes me feel a little nauseous, but the lesson of joy that it resulted in is one I can't help but share.
Welcome earthside, little love. I'm not sure how to describe the gift that you are to me, but I will try.
You are two weeks old today. How can this be? Nothing remains in me that existed prior to your life. In such a short time you've altered everything that once mattered to me. Pain feels different, joy feels different, my physical body feels different. Suddenly everything I do and everything I am is for you. I am so grateful for the courage that your life requires of me as you demand me at my best.
I love to look at you. Your eyes are so familiar. As I stare into them it feels as though I'm stepping out of time, like I've known you for a thousand lifetimes, like you've known me for a thousand lifetimes. I see the past, I see the future, yet I'm so acutely present in the moment we are sharing. My little slice of eternity.
As I document my love for you this morning a storm is raging just outside our window, mere inches from us. Rain is pouring, thunder is pounding, lightning is striking, wind is howling, trees are bending, yet here we are, untouched. You have brought me that kind of peace, a literal calm in the storm as I hold you in my arms. So much of it that I am able to give it back to you as we rest peacefully here together despite the treacherous conditions that surround us. I think we will bring this bond of peace and comfort with us as we journey through life together. Life is so sweet now that you are here. There is no longer bitterness or condemnation for the path that brought us together, no matter how broken it once felt. There is no longer regret or longing. Only peace that overflows exists where pain once did. There is no storm, no threat that can diminish my love and pure gratitude for your existence, my peaceful girl.
I have never known a love like this: a love that makes self-sacrifice a delight, a love that has made a 6-inch scar on my abdomen where you arose my new favorite part of my body, a love that physically wakes me every two hours around the clock. As I reflect on the depth of my affection for you I become that much more aware of our Heavenly Father's love for me, for us. Never before have I considered the possibility of God's joy when reflecting on His sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Is it possible that God delighted in sacrificing himself for the sake of His children? Is it possible that joy existed and possibly even took precedence over the suffering that occurred as He poured out His life because of His extravagant love for us? Is it this very joy that made the sacrifice possible? Now that I know you, as I experience a small portion of that kind of sacrifice, I think so. Joy is woven into every fiber of the struggle, existing most abundantly at the end ourselves as we give our strength to others. Our most precious gift now and forever, Penny: the never ending lessons that abide in the mystery of the cross.
Welcome to your earthly home. Thank you for the peace and joy that you bring here with you. I promise to give you my best.