Within a week or a month or so (there was no awareness of time at the beginning) of Little Leopard's birth one of my aunts and an acquaintance both said versions of the same thing: Isn't motherhood the best thing ever? Don't you love your child so much?
I think I just looked at them skeptically. Motherhood was not the best thing ever, and I didn't love Little Leopard all that much--I'd just met him and he wasn't exactly the sort of being you could really interact with. He mostly just laid there or cried or grated my nipples until they bled.
Although well-intentioned, it just wasn't a helpful sort of thing to say to a new mother, but I understand now what they were talking about, and why their joy at their own motherhood just couldn't be contained, even around a brand new, struggling mother. I understand now how you can love your child more than you could even imagine. (Stockholm syndrome?) I understand how the love is so great it almost hurts. I understand how the possibility that something bad could ever happen to him is more than you can handle.
I didn't want anything to happen to him when he was a brand new newborn, either, but I think then it was selfishness--I'd grown him in my body and then pushed him out, neither really enjoyable activities, and I wanted a return on my investment.
Now I find every thing about Little Leopard, every development, every cute thing he says, every quirk, utterly irresistible and lovable. I particularly love sharing with him activities I enjoy--mostly eating now, as Little Leopard is limited in his interests at the moment. Francisco doesn't really like popcorn or watermelon, two of my favorite things. Little Leopard excitedly obliges my culinary choices.
And when I'm walking around the neighborhood without him, it doesn't feel right at all--he is my constant conversation partner, with whom I attend to and comment on all methods of transportation. Who am I supposed to converse with when I see a garbage truck or fire engine or motorcycle or airplane and he isn't there? It's disorienting.
So yes, motherhood is the best thing ever. Just don't tell that to a brand new mom.