Postpartum, Post-Election

For the last several weeks, I have awoken each morning with the heaviest of eyes. I have an eight-week-old little girl, who has managed at the same time to make my heart feel larger and my body feel weaker than ever before. It feels as though I have aged 8 years in 8 weeks. I get little sleep, I spend every waking minute bouncing her from one hip to another, and my body is called upon every hour and a half to feed her—whether I have the energy or not. In the midst of my exhaustion, in the moments where I feel I cannot manage things another hour, when I feel anger and sadness and desperation, I image God as a Mother and I pour my heart out to her in words and tears and moans. While I serve as my daughter’s source of comfort and nourishment and safety, I seek these out in the safe bosom of my God who invites me to her chest, to hear her heart beat and know that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. As I sit with cracked nipples and leaking breasts, I see my God as one familiar with her body being broken on behalf of those she loves, of giving herself entirely so we might be fully alive. In the very same moment, I am both a reflection of this God to my daughter—body broken and poured out for her—and I am a desperate child needing this God’s loving embrace.

For the last several weeks, I have awoken each morning with the heaviest of hearts. I have watched as beloved children of God have found themselves the victims of cruel words, of hateful attacks, of vile threats. I have listened as persons have shared through tears what it’s like to be harassed while trying to pump fuel at a gas station, what it’s like to have someone rush up behind you threatening to grab you by your vagina, what it’s like to send your child back to school the day after he has been told by classmates that he will now have to go back to where he came from since America is finally building that wall. My heart has not known grief like this for some time, and I feel so overwhelmed by it at times that I cannot even speak. Last week when I learned of the election results at 2 am (incidentally while I was half awake feeding my daughter), I wept. I did not weep because I have any allegiance to a political party or candidate (I don’t). I didn’t weep because I believe that those in political office are of the greatest concern to our wellbeing as children of God or that their form of power is ultimate (I don’t). I wept because, as I held my sweet daughter in my arms whose cries I could soothe with gentle hands and an ample breast, I knew there were countless persons going to bed that night shaking with fear, crying tears of worried concern for their safety, wondering what this would mean for them and their families. And I just longed to have arms and chest great enough to comfort them all.

I have spent many hours in tears these past few weeks, feeling weak and distraught and exhausted, feeling angry and hopeless and afraid. I have cried in desperation to know that, while I commit to caring for the little girl entrusted to me, God will be caring for her children as well. To those who have been singled out and attacked for their ethnicity or sexual orientation or religion, I imagine God cradling them in her arms, assuring them that she too knows what its like to be hated, rejected, and even killed, reminding them that their identity and value are found in their reflection of her image.

In the wee hours of the morning, when I am once again being called to care for a little one who knows no other means of recourse but to need me, I will find comfort in the God who lies awake with me, whose body has been broken and poured out on our behalf, who invites me to her chest so I can hear the beating of her heart and feel assured that she sees her children, she knows our fear, and she will care for us well. Thanks be to God.