Motherhood immediately changed my perception of many previously held beliefs. For example, I quickly learned that sleep has far more value than money, showering every other day is reasonable, and wearing the same outfit two days in a row is more than acceptable.
But, it is in the months following childbirth that profound and life-changing truth is actually revealed, such as the intricate beauty and vastness of love.
Like most women, I have given and received love throughout my life. In recent years, my husband, step-kids and dog have been the primary recipients of my affection. David, William, Suzanna and especially, Lily, have returned that love in their own special ways.
I genuinely thought I had a solid grasp of what love embodied and entailed. Then my son entered my life, ushering in a whole new level and knowledge of love.
Often, Samuel naps on my chest. The simple sound of his breathing, the squishy weight and warmth of his body, the softness of his perfect skin all conspire to catapult my love into the 4th dimension. I feel such an overwhelming and fierce love for him that my heart actually burns. I love this child, not due to anything he has done or ever will do. I love him simply because he is him.
In these moments I often reflect on the love of my parent in Heaven. God loves me as I love my son, probably far more, which is beyond my capacity to fully comprehend. And God does so due to nothing I have done. God’s love is not for sale–it cannot be bought or earned. God loves because that is who God is and that is what God does.
This vast love serves as a message of extraordinary hope to every woman in recovery. I spent years severely abusing my body through alcohol and eating disorder behaviors. I hated my body—the feelings it held and the memories it stored. By any reasonable estimation, the harm I exacted on my physical being should have been profound and permanent. And yet, it is this very same body that offered safety, security and shelter to my son for nine months, and now continues to nourish him long after his birth.
For every woman who is in recovery, or moving toward it, please remember this: my story is your story. Whatever you have done in the past regarding your body, behaviors or choices in NO way defines you today. Those chapters are written, those pages are permanently turned. Our bodies and souls were created with a tremendous capacity to be born anew, to be fully restored to wellness.
In recovery, we are living a whole new chapter, with many more to come. Each of us has the ability to author the remainder of our story with power and positivity. Life can be abundantly good.