I've felt this way before - with every one of my babies. But it's different this time too. Sometimes, when his eyes catch mine and he breaks into that big gummy smile, I have to catch my breath as my heart floats away.
I didn't know if it would feel like this. I worried, oh how I worried, that there wasn't room in my broken heart for this boy. What if I'd been knocked down too many times to be able to summon the grace, the patience, the wonder that he deserved?
Having a baby that I didn't expect, in the middle of a divorce, was heart wrenching. Instead of excitement, wonder, and joy, the days leading up to his arrival were fraught with worry, anxiety, and guilt. I wanted to give him my heart, but the weight of everything crashing down around me felt impossible.
In the hours before he was born, I felt nothing but fear. So much fear.
As the nurses prepped me for surgery, I struggled to breathe through the hot tears that I couldn't stop from rolling down my cheeks. I was bringing a perfect, innocent, vulnerable baby into the world. A world that had recently shown me just how selfish, how deceitful, how cruel it could be. All of the oxygen was leaking out of the room and I knew I couldn't do it. I really couldn't do it.
I can't tell you that everything worked out okay, because so many things continue to be hard. So many things have been worse than I even imagined. At the same time, it has been beautiful and my heart has expanded more than I thought was possible.
When he was born, he came out wailing. Strapped down to a hospital bed, isolated behind a screen of blue surgical paper, trapped in a drug induced fog, yet I still remember the sound of his voice as he was forced into the world. I couldn't see him but I listened to his cries, unrelenting and so loud, as the medical team went about their business. I waited, still not sure what I had to offer him.
After what seemed like the longest rotations around the clock, a nurse brought him into view. Red faced, still howling, she brought him to me. Still strapped down, still in surgery, I couldn't hold him. But I pressed my cheek to his and through his cries, I spoke softly in his ear.
Hello my baby.
And he stopped crying.
Just like that.
And then, my heart was his forever. Forever and ever and ever.
I love this boy. I love him when he mews like a cat at me. I love the little long, soft hairs at the back of his neck. I love the way his toes curl when he's eating. I love the way his big blue eyes light up when he smiles. I love every single second he is in my arms, by my side. He's a miracle and a blessing, every single day.
As I turned my heart over to this boy, this precious soul entrusted to my care, I promised him all I have to give. I promised him my heart, forever. I promised him that I would summon all the patience, all the grace, all the love that he deserves. It's a promise I will spend the rest of my life living up to.
Johnson's Baby is also making promises to mothers in their new campaign, "Your Promise is Our Promise." After listening to mothers express concern about certain ingredients in their products, Johnson's Baby is introducing newly reformulated products to give moms everywhere peace of mind. Moms can use Johnson's Baby products on their little ones without worry.
To share their commitment, they have created this beautiful video inspired by the Japanese legend that says folding a thousand origami cranes will result in a wish granted and a promise fulfilled. It's a labor of love that Johnson's was willing to fulfill to show their commitment to the hopes and promises of families.
While I promise my baby all the love in the world, Johnson's promises to always listen to moms. For that, I am so grateful.
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I partnered with Johnson's Baby and The Motherhood to share Johnson's "Your Promise is Our Promise" campaign. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are entirely my own. For more information about Johnson's polices and timeline, visit safetyandcarecommitment.com.