Friday, December 03, 2004


A friend told me early on in my pregnancy that I had every right to feel angry or sad or ambivalent about my situation…for the first five months. Now of course, I'm on borrowed time. I'm out of bounds. Once again, as seems the trend, my crayon has strayed beyond the boundaries.

Don't get me wrong, we all want to protect our children. The problem comes because most people assume eventually feelings of love or protection replace the other murkier feelings, the darker days, or the biting anger. They don't. They coexist. Sometimes I want desperately to lift my baby out of his round, taut belly house, and hold him. Just to hug him to me or keep him safe from the world I walk through every day. Foolish creatures that we are, our bodies yet a mystery to us – stolen by medical "professionals," we believe pedestrian notions of how arms show tenderness. That I would steal my infant from the womb to grip him with lesser parts, like hands. Silly humans.

"Do you feel like you might harm yourself or your baby?" I see reference to the help lines here and there in the better literature. But even Anne Lamott, whom I have unfairly elevated to a status she cannot truly attain – my model of writer mother, truthsayer, and humorist – even she said "no" to that question that rang dully out of the phone at 2:00 am. If such times of distress are mentioned at all, the mothers all say "no" to the question. Like a gate coming down, the flood stops there, the wild storm finds its edge, there is elastic in the circle. The ones who say "yes" surely don't write it down, and the ones that don't have the strength to call in the first place show up on the news.

We all want to protect our children. Sylvia Plath stuffed towels around the door of the room where her children were sleeping before she turned on the gas for herself. We all want to protect our children.

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