Disclaimer: I own nothing about Jane Eyre, the wonderful story and characters are property of Charlotte Brontë.
Summary: Jane reflects on her new role as a mother after the birth of hers and Edward Rochester's first child.
A Language Never Invented
Even though life was always adverse to my fantasies, scarce and fearful as they usually were when I decided to indulge them, it imparted me valuable lessons throughout the years, and, even when bitter to swallow, I hastened to learn from them.
One, which came to prove ever so truthful, was that love was mingled with pain. Love from and for my Edward, sweet and pure and freeing as it was, a draught that God kindly let me taste, never to forget the flavour again, was fraught with hardship. The road was never smooth and easy, the pebbles never round and friendly, but jagged and cutting. It was, nevertheless, steadfastly endured even in the height of extreme agony, for I knew begging to be free of it, and having my request granted, in order to ease my heart would cause me far more harm in the future. After the storm eased and clear skies returned, I discovered that my instincts to cling to what my heart still desired were correct, and that the agony I went through to eventually obtain it proved worth it, and all the more sweet for what it brought me.
The same, I discovered, occurred in a very different situation life thought fit to put me in now. A situation I never truly believed I would find myself in, which seemed certain would never breeze in to take my petite and waifish form and mould it to its liking, a blessing I would be denied. Astonished and brimming with delight I was to discover that this breeze chose me, after bestowing its blessings on many others before me, deciding that I would know what they had known, and obtain for life what they had been offered. I gave my thanks to God for such an opportunity, after what He had generously given me already.
But pain is the other face of love; love that swelled deeper and thicker with every flutter, every moment, every dream, every plan. Love to feel that, soon, I would have a child of my own, something no one could ever tear from my breast and my arms, no matter how hard they tried, how deeply they attempted to crush me. To welcome him into the world was an agonising affair, alien and bloody, which puzzled and wearied me, but God and Nature had their wisdom, and I endured it all as stoically as I could, understanding, even in the excruciating height of labour, that pain was also needed to unleash this new love of mine.
I cannot regret a single minute of it, and I know I would go through it all again, as many times as necessary, and that I would offer my strength for him even when none remained within me. The breeze grew and took form in me, materialising into a fine baby boy, the finest I had ever seen and would ever hope to see. Many, even today, would think me aloof and reserved, but the depths of joy and love that bubbled in my heart were stronger than ever, an unhuman force that took over my frail body, strengthening it against worldly blows, and, whenever I was alone with him, with my little Edward, I never refrained from showing it him.
Every strand of fine, silky black hair seemed spun and twisted by the gods; his large, dark eyes were every bit his father's as I remembered them; his small body was sturdy and flushed a healthy pink, every minute finger and toe a delight. I giggled like a girl, utterly ecstatic, barely believing my good fortune.
How I love thee. But it is a love that runs away from my words, that refuses to be pinned down. It is not as satisfying because it cannot be properly voiced, and yet it is purer than anything I believe to exist in this earth. Every tendril of it that cannot find a name is stronger and more keenly felt in my heart. It takes root, envelops every inch of my heart like ivy, and I know that, when my boy is a grown-up, and when I am old and on my death-bed, there will not be a bit of my heart left to see; all of it will be encircled by him. The ivy will grow thicker and yellow with the years, but stronger with the turning of time, and it will die twined round my heart, that altar which is meant to worship him.
How to be respectable and proper? How to endure leaving him behind? I wave away nurses with passionate resentment, I let him suckle from my swollen breast, I relish in every tiny caress. The frosty Jane is no more; my little Edward, even more so than the older Edward, took the fearful ice in me and turned it to fire. It will burn vigorously kindled now, for as long as I live.
Poor Edward is jealous of my unbridled, giddy affection, and his resentment – or insecurity? – masks the love I know rests deep in his breast for his child. For it is impossible not to love one's own, and I know that my fiery, arrogant husband was taught deeper love, deeper than he ever thought possible, and greater humility, as I was, with the birth of our son. We have found someone to love more than each other, and there is no opposition to that, only acceptance. Love can be a reckless, cruel teacher, but also a wise one.
Little Edward, may God bless you. I pray fervently for you. I know that if anything happens to you, the well of my strength will be definitively dried up, and nothing else will be able to will me back into this life, or anywhere you are not in. Take my blood, my nourishment, my flesh if you must, like you did when you still lived within me, but never leave me.
I dote on you as a baby, but I long to see you grow. I yearn to know what you will learn from life, and am certain that, with your father's and mine tender and sage guidance, you will choose a righteous and honourable path, understanding that pain exists, but rising above it, gaining only tenderness and compassion from its knowledge. For we are all born from pain, my love, and we are all proof that it does not last forever, does not have to hold us captive at all times. You will learn that, dear one, and with God's help, will be a good man and a good Christian.
There is so much to say, but language so exquisite and advanced has not yet been invented; I shall have to make do with imperfect thoughts and weak words, too weak to convey what I feel for you. It is not enough, and I cannot bring myself to accept that this is beyond my powers; I want you to know the depth of my love. For you, I will decode this feeling, invent a new alphabet, beat the skies down so that their blessings rain on you. For you, I will be rock, I will be sunshine, I will be the balm to spread across your wounded form, I will be soft rain to temper the devouring fire. Anything that my small, plain body can do, everything my soul is yet to know, will be at your disposal. Edward. Never doubt what I can do for you; never doubt that my meek teeth will sharpen and tint themselves with blood for you. Never doubt that my body will be a stony shield to protect you. My hair will be your blanket, my eyes your guiding light.
My darling, I weep with the strength of my thoughts, but I cannot be embarrassed, I cannot apologise. Before you, with your father, life was a sweet blessing, but with you, I was reborn into a world of wonder, taught to be free and unearthly, and yet also to live with a weight in my chest that shall never disappear. Such is life with you, but I do not protest; I do not demand alterations or attempt to bargain.
Edward... you are mine and yet someday you will be claimed. May I never be alive to see the day. But life with you is young, it has only just begun, and my spirit thrives and relishes. Together, our lives and fates entwined, our souls clinging to each other, we shall walk the long path. And we shall know happiness. I love you, Edward. I love you.