Falling for Finn

I have a confession to make. I'm a little nervous to share it publicly, but I want to do so because I've been encouraged more times than I can count by the transparency of others, and I hope that in sharing I can practice that same transparency and encourage even one other person. 

So, here it is: I didn't fall in love with my baby right away.

When I was pregnant, I would watch a t.v. show or movie with a birth scene in it, and seeing the interaction between parents and their new baby would bring tears to my eyes. Honestly, I would be at the gym, walking on the treadmill, sobbing, because I was watching "A Birth Story" on TLC. "How beautiful is that? I can't wait to experience it!" I would think. 

But that wasn't how I felt the moment Finley was born, or even the day he was born. And then came the second day, the third day, and the forth day...... and that expected feeling didn't come. All the excitement and visitors masked my confusion and anxiety a little, but after that stopped I would sit on the couch in our apartment living room and cry as I nursed Finley. My heart longed intensely for the "before" days, when I was contently pregnant and would spend my days researching the best baby items, snacking on nachos and staying up late watching "Bones" with Joey. After a full night of sleep we would rise and repeat. Life was good. It was all about "us." Suddenly, there was another life added to the "us," and it was one that woke up often in the night and screamed for reasons we couldn't determine. It made us uneasy. It made us upset. We were forced to come face to face (on minds weary from lack of sleep) with a harsh reality: we were incredibly selfish.

I don't think many people were aware of my struggle. My good friend Emily got to see me fall apart when we FaceTimed a few days after Finn was born, but I would only casually mention my dissatisfaction with this new life to others. Internally, I felt such anxiety. In the back of my mind, I was constantly wondering, "Is this how I'm always going to feel? Exhausted, lonely, and unhappy?" To top it off, I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that I was committed to shooting eleven weddings and countless portrait session, which would begin in just weeks. I couldn't do it. In my tears I would pray, "I can't do this alone, Lord. I can't do this alone. I don't even know what to ask for... I just know I need help."

And though I was utterly broken, I encountered something profoundly beautiful when a simple truth occurred to me: That the Lord, without a shadow of a doubt, was actively at work within me. Every tear shed, every second spent crushed under the pressure of anxiety, every feeling of disappointment I felt with myself, with my child, with my husband... it all became purposeful. I was being shaped into the perfect and beautiful image of Christ, being FREED more and more from the burden of my own selfishness. I wouldn't trade what I've experienced over the past few weeks for anything. I'm reminded of a verse from Ezekiel (36:26), where the Lord says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Thank you, Jesus, for your faithfulness.

Maybe you're wondering how I'm doing now? Somewhere between week 1.5 and 2 something changed, and every morning I would wake up and find that my love for my child had grown. It's a beautiful thing. In the beginning, when I nursed Finn, I would be distracted by my phone or computer. Now, I'm content to just stare at him and listen to his sweet little eating noises. It took longer than I thought it would to "fall for Finn," but I'm finally beginning to understand what I couldn't understand before now: a mother's love. It's consuming. It's mysterious. It breaks my heart and mends it at the same time. And I pray that I would continue to be challenged and shaped into someone who more intensely and accurately reflects the glory of God through this journey of parenting my sweet Finn. 

If YOU are struggling, I encourage you to reach out. You aren't alone. No one's journey is the same- don't compare your experience to the experiences of others. Just know that you don't have to face your struggle alone. 


Tay Oman said...

Tierney, your post was so encouraging and refreshing to hear. I experienced something similiar with my first born, Asher. Even though I can't say I was frustrated or anything I didn't fall in love with him right away either it makes me think of the story of the birth of Benjamin, I believe in the Bible when Rachel named him Icabod which meant something about sorrow, I can't completely remember and Jacob then renamed him. Your not alone but one thing is for sure you will fall in love with your child more than you thought could be possible and I truly believe children are given to us for the Lord to show us who we really are deep down inside.

Tierney Cyanne said...

Thanks for those kind words of encouragement! I definitely believe children are a gift in so many ways... yes, because they are beautiful and sweet and hilarious in their ways, but also because they are used to teach us about ourselves and shape us into more selfless people! Being freed from selfishness is not an easy "gift" but one that is so worthwhile :)

mary dougherty said...

so well written + beautifully said. Motherhood doesn't come instantaneously, but is acquired + refined (or so I think)