Sunday, June 6, 2010

Char-lotte, Char-lotte

I had a baby, I did, I did.
I stand before the mirror examining the sunrise of stretch marks on my belly, the droop to my breasts. I am still able to squeeze a few drops of milk out, but they don't hurt anymore.
I have a mother's body, I think.
If I died on the highway, and I became a Jane Doe. They could look at me and say, She is somebody's mother.
They would feel sad, looking at me, white and cold on the table. She's so young, with a child out there somewhere.
little would they know, would they.

What is it that makes it so hard for us?
Why don't we believe that we ever had that baby, that we ever were mothers?
I would hunt for evidence all day long; the physical evidence of my body would keep me convinced for only so long. Then I would turn to the drawers of neatly folded diapers, of cotton onesies and hand-knitted sweaters. I would run my fingers along the smoothness of the maple crib rail; the rocking chair. I have these things, I would murmur to myself under my breath, because I had a baby, I did, I did.
Going for my post partum, I held my head high, absolutely awash with relief to be back at the midwife's office.
How awful, some might say, to have to go back.
But here, it was real. I was a mother, I was, I was.
I was examined because I had given birth, and treated as such.
I was allowed to talk about my birth.
Isn't that what you ask all new mothers? How was the birth?
I got to say it, I did.

And I can't say, when it comes down to it, that much has changed. When I look across my son's classroom and stare unabashedly at the seven year old girls, I chant it still: I have one of those, I do, I did.

There is no longer any evidence worth hunting for, but for my heart that still beats to the rhythm of her name.


jojo said...

This year I was thrown on Liam's birthday. I kept thinking, but how can he be SIX, because Charlotte is SIX. And again, in May, confused about whether Charlotte was a baby or a seven year old girl. Has time stopped or kept going?

caitsmom said...

Ah, a beautiful and sad post. Your last line made me catch my breath.

Hope's Mama said...

That last line got me all choked up as well.
I loved the fact I was finally one of them, in the club. I could share all those nitty gritty details of the birth. Yet, that's where it ended for me. I was always so relieved when close mother friends would let me speak of those details, as it helped me to believe I was one of them and that she was real, even though she was so absolutely gone from my life.
Lovely post.