There’s a trail near my house. It’s lined with the greenest trees, the longest runs, and my strongest prayers. That’s where I barked out some of my most authentic pleas — out in open fields, huffing and puffing to God with a heavy ache in my soul. That’s where my legs would quiver from fatigue and my heart would sink from defeat. That’s where I prayed for life. That’s where I bet on hope.
And there were days my heart would wince from the pain of our infertility. Out on that blossoming trail full of dirt and earth, that’s where the barren pieces of me would resound so heavily. But my legs — Thump. Thump. Thump. — my tired legs would pound through that parched portion of my soul. Hot and heavy, they’d drum away at the pavement steadily and persistently as my heart poured out its ache to God. They’d run and run and run toward hope and life and you. They’d carry me.
“Can you feel your legs?” the nurse asked as they all scurried around the hospital room. “Numb,” I said. “They’re completely numb.” That’s when they surrounded me, one on each side. They hoisted my heavy legs into stirrups and briefed me on the art of pushing. “1-2-3,” they shouted as new life nudged closer and closer to earth.
And then you were there, filled with the answer to a million different prayers. You were there — warm and soft and real. Finally.
“Can you feel your legs yet?” The nurse said as she broke through the haze of that fresh postpartum fog. “Numb,” I said. “They’re still numb.” And as she scooped my limp legs off of the hospital bed with a mission to get me to the recovery room, she said, “then let me carry you.”
And, if I’m honest, sometimes I still feel the need to be carried. My legs are tired, worn from treading the unfamiliar territory of motherhood. I feel them give way under the doubt — the “is it normal…” Google searches at 1 AM or the “you must make your baby every single meal or you’re a bad mother” guilt or the “I have to entertain my child with Mickey Mouse for 15 minutes so I can squeeze in a shower” shame. It’s always there, that doubt. It disguises itself in unrealistic ideals and imparts guilt on the very fiber of your being.
But then… then Judah smiles. He smiles at me with big trusting eyes that settle in the assurance of my love.
He smiles. And it carries me.