There is a feeling right after you give birth. A sister-feeling with the awe that steals all the air around you, as you meet your child, the one who has been consuming you for the past year, taking over every space in your body and your mind and your heart. You don’t know this sister-feeling is there until a few moments later, when you can feel through the fog of warm wonder and wholeness. You don’t know it’s there until the baby is being held by someone else and you put your hand on your belly, the soft and empty spot where she once was, where he once was.
And there it is: a sudden, visceral feeling of out-of-controlness, of vulnerability, of emptiness, of complete terror. And you realize, right then and right there, in your hospital sheets with your hand on that soft spot: you will no longer be a total shield for this babe, that they are no longer fluttering right there next to your soul, but they are out now in this everyone and everything space, the same space that includes chemicals and politics and strangers. This space that contains lies and accidents and diseases.
And your soul pinches, longing to have the babe right next to it forever.
And you realize later this won’t be the only time you touch this soft spot. There will be soft spot moments the rest of your life. Like every time you empty the contents of your backseat, your toddler girl and bright eyed babe, into the loving care of Grammy or day care or otherwise, and you drive away and feel the weight of your backseat, like an empty womb, and your soul pinches. Every single time.
And then you do the only thing you can: pray. Pray, as life touches your soft spot, that God will be the shield you cannot always be. And then you thank God that your sweet babes are out in this space, the same space as sunsets and ice cream and snow, the same space as diversity and courage and freedom. Thank God that they are healthy and thriving and get to experience all the good things that come along with leaving the space next to your soul. Most of all, because now they are out in the space where you can see them and hold them and love them and know them.
Soft spot and all.