Long-time readers will know that I didn’t get that ‘rush of pure love’ that was promised when I looked at my baby for the first time. I was exhausted, drugged, in pain, overwhelmed, overstimulated, and I was so relieved that she was out, and stunned at her existence, that I was too full of other things to think of love.

And then, the minutes turned into weeks – sleepless, angry, sore, different in ways that made me feel alien and disgusting. Overwhelmed with the sheer depth of her need from me, when I barely took care of my own self. Too empty to think of love.

Weeks into months. You put in the work. You keep them alive, because the alternative is one of you dying, and you’re not there yet, so you keep going. You wash bottles, change diapers, burp and rock and sing and cry and wash more bottles. You do another load of laundry. You agonize over them. They are your world.

Love is a verb, too. To love something is to care for it, literally. For many, it doesn’t feel like anything, and it can’t be summoned – you simply one day look at the small, helpless creature you (for some reason) haven’t let die yet, and you think, shit, I must love you. That’s it. And loving is a choice you make every day, repeated in service and sacrifice, manifest in agonies and thrills, and what you feel from that relationship… that path through the dark forest… is love.

A love – for your child, or anyone else – that builds over time is not lesser to one that seems to come naturally. It’s strong in its own way. You can grow a plant from a seed or buy one from the nursery – and given enough time to grow, can you tell them apart? You can’t, and the same goes for love… whenever it settles on your shoulders.

Just a housekeeping note – I’ll be going in for surgery this week (nothing scary, but the recovery time is no joke), so How Baby will be on hiatus for a few weeks until I’m comfortable sitting upright to draw again. Stay updated on Twitter, or Patreon, or just check back in about three to four weeks and hopefully I should be back at it! <33