When I gave birth to my daughter, a part of me came alive. I had long had a buffer on my emotions, but motherhood broke through that. The love that I felt for her was like nothing I had ever experienced.
When she was three weeks old, I looked down at my sleeping daughter as a wave of emotion washed over me. Those three weeks had felt like a lifetime, rich with moments of connection. Already she had changed so much. And I had changed, too. I couldn't imagine my life without her. Three weeks. Three amazing weeks. The same amount of time as the "missing weeks" of my life, the time between my birth and placement when I belonged to no one. I was struck by the contrast between my daughter's first three weeks of life and my own, which were and are a void. For a moment, I stopped breathing.
A few weeks later my first mother visited me for a week. I spent the week gazing lovingly at my daughter, and she took advantage of my absorbed attention to spend the time gazing similarly at me. At the end of the week she said to me, "The way you feel when you look at Mackenzie, that's how I feel about you." And I understood.