In The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver writes:
A mother’s body remembers her babies — the folds of soft flesh, the softly furred scalp against her nose. Each child has its own entreaties to body and soul. It’s the last one, though, that overtakes you. … A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world.
But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after — oh, that’s love by a different name. She is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after she’s gone to sleep. If you put her down in the crib, she might wake up changed and fly away. So instead you rock by the window, drinking the light from her skin, breathing her exhaled dreams. Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on her cheeks. She is the one you can’t put down.
For the past six weeks, this has beat like a mantra at the back of my brain: This is the last time you will ever do this. This is the last time you will bring a baby home from the hospital. This is the last time you will button this tiny sweater. Like Orleanna Price, I stay in the rocking chair long after the baby has gone to sleep. Instead of attending my normal LDS meetings, I have worshipped at the church of the lastborn. This is a religion with different sacraments. Quotidian tasks become sacred acts. A baptism of water during a first bath; a special anointing of oil for tender skin. There is only milk, not meat.
Now the babymoon is over — six weeks of Sunday morning maternity leave has been enough time for an unhurried recovery. Today we venture out into the wider world together. Today you meet another part of your family — a community of saints, who have prayed for your safe arrival and sent their love wrapped in foil-covered casserole dishes. Today we leave our nest, but we also come home.