Last February, my husband I sat in a curtained-off waiting room while a stranger defrosted the frozen embryo that is now our 4-month-old daughter, Posey. Since we've become new parents, and especially because we are one of the millions of couples who've faced the heart-shattering issue of infertility, there is a standard set of questions we often get asked:
"Is she sleeping through the night?" (Mostly)
"How much does she weigh?" (At last check, just over 11 lbs.)
And, to my husband, some variation of "Don't you just love your wife even more now?"
To this, he answers... "No."
At first, it hurt my feelings. A lot. I wanted him to be one of those husbands. The kind whose soul explodes with lightning bolts and emotional Silly String at the sight of his beloved, babe in arms, as he realizes that no longer am I simply his partner. No siree. I am now the anointed, revered, diamond earrings-worthy Mother of His Child. I wanted to be the sloth to his Kristen Bell.
After he'd witnessed enough of my passive aggressive pouty-scowls, he finally explained. "It's kind of insulting when people ask me that. When I married you, I couldn't have loved you any more than I did right then."
Wham. Right there over my pork chops at an upscale chain restaurant, I got it. Love doesn't leave room for increases based on performance. It's okay to be at maximum capacity right from the get-go. It's not a letdown when reality meets the expectation, because maybe the expectation was pretty gosh darn high.
So this Valentine's Day, if you ask me if I love my daughter -- the one I waited years to finally meet, the one I gave up my career for -- more than I ever imagined, I will give you my honest answer:
No, I don't.
I love her exactly as much as I thought I would.