Mothering

I just read the following to Claire and she loves the last two paragraphs. Me too. I want to write more of this, the lovely everyday. 


I gave birth to Claire in a fluorescent lit room. I kept my eyes closed. My mind worked differently, to protect me from panic at the massive work of my body. For most of the labor and delivery I was calm, or even blissed out. Justin was in and out of the room and the one moment of near fear I remember happened at the first urge to push when I realized my body was going to birth a baby and I had best be okay with the process. I had a moment of fear at motherhood, not the first of the pregnancy and not the last of motherhood. At one point near the end I glanced to my left and saw four or five interns and doctors lined against the wall watching because it was rare for a woman to choose no epidural. I met Claire and Justin followed her to the little station where she was measured and weighed. She was so pink. I shivered and nurses placed a heavy blanket over me. My body lost so much blood I later passed out but no one seemed worried, so I didn’t worry either. I asked to see the placenta. After reading so much about pregnancy and birth, I respected this whole new organ my body grew to support my daughter. The doctor held the slick, deep red placenta up like he was a waiter carrying a tray. Wow, I said. It’s a good size, he said, and dropped it into the medical waste bin with a thwack.

I gave birth to Grant in a dimly lit room. Justin attended me the whole time. My mind again carried me away from fear. This time I knew I was having a boy and we had chosen his name so I said to Grant to move so he was ready to be born. I said to Grant we were together in this. This labor was different. The sensations were less intense. My water broke with a loud pop and splash while I was pushing and my doctor, a Lebanese woman, laughed. Yulla! Yulla! she said. I met Grant whom I already loved. I rested. We ordered breakfast delivered to the birthing suite. In our room alone I marveled how tiny this new person was. I laid on my belly for the first time in months. I nursed my baby. I watched him sleep.

When I met Claire, she was place on my right breast so she looked up at me. When I met Grant he was placed on my left breast so he looked up at me. I love to hold my children in a hug and look down to see them look up at me.

My son has his father’s hands. My daughter has my hands. I watch how these hands work. Grant draws intricate plans for a ship. He rolls bits of paper into smokestacks to glue on the deck of a cardboard ship. He digs in the dirt for rocks he calls gems. When he rides his bike, he sometimes lets one arm loose at his side and once I saw him lift both hands from the handlebar just to see if he could. Claire makes a flat screen alive with whatever world she’s constructed. She taps and scrolls to edit a stopmotion video. She picks up a pencil, a marker, a paintbrush to make the picture in her mind show up on paper. She makes clothes for her doll. Both of my children hold my hand and that is a daily pleasure.

(595 words)

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