When I was pregnant with Finn complete strangers would gush to me “oh you’ve no idea, it’s the most amazing thing, and the most powerful love you’ll ever feel.”
Finn is now three months and I’d have to disagree.
For Finn is easy to love wholeheartedly, unconditionally and completely.
The more powerful love, purely by dent of the work it takes, is the one I feel for my husband or my parents.
Finn is indeed hard work. But he is also tiny, smells like the best thing the world has ever come up with, doesn’t give me sass, and when he tires me its through no fault or manipulation.
The love I feel for him is the easiest love there is to feel. It’s the way we should love our friends, our lovers, and our family.
As a young feminist I ‘learned’ an awful lot about sexual politics and that all love between a man and woman is based on at best an exchange of power (for money, protection, security) and at worst female sublimation to the ‘patriarch that dwells in all men.’
I’ve since had to unlearn much of this notion for my own marriage to work. Sacrifice, when both parties make it in regular small doses, does not in any way belittle me. It instead is the cornerstone of trust, for I’ve learned to trust that I can also make withdrawals from the sacrifice piggy bank when my own resources are running low.
I don’t believe I will ever be able to love a complex adult like my husband or my Mum in the same ‘no holds barred’ fashion that I love Finn, but I do believe that trying to will make me the best lover of people that I can be.
There is a marvellous short story called ‘A tree, a rock, a cloud’ about a man who teaches himself to love anything or everything by meditating upon it until its beautiful ‘self ness’ is apparent and loveable to him.
Perhaps if I held (or was allowed to hold) a fully realized adult bundled in my arms for an hour at a time ten times a day, just staring into the amazing ness that is their eyes I could add to that title the most important word:
‘A tree, a rock, a cloud - anyone’