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mother's day

Zion found his crying voice last night. I remember that Harvey did that too - be sweet and sleepy for a few days and then all of a sudden turn into a screaming raging monster. It probably has to do with their digestion when my milk comes in - Zion certainly was working through some burps and poops and hiccups, and he let loose with letting us know it all evening. I remember Harvey screamed for an hour or a few every day for a while... I don't really remember for how long. I wish we had written these things down, whether it was for two weeks or two months that he screamed all evening every evening. On the other hand, I know that when you have a screaming newborn all you want to do is make the screaming stop, and writing stuff down does not seem of the utmost importance.

Also, maybe you want to forget.

Today is mother's day, and I had started working on a poem a few weeks ago for the occasion. Unfortunately some other things came up, so this is how far I got:

I am mama
remover of splinters
mac and cheese maker
hat knitter in winters

I am mama
remover of bugs
song maker upper
fountain of hugs

It's not what you call a finished piece as I was hoping for 2 more stanzas, the last of which would wrap up a lighthearted list with something moving and profound. yaddah yaddah yaddah. Maybe you get the idea.

Becoming a mom has been the most real, powerful, awesome thing I've done with my life. At the same time the specific process of becoming a mother, which is to say what I've been living through this week, is kind of a bitch. I kept thinking if I just got the right team in place, if I got the right equipment, if I gave birth at home and not in a hospital, and without castor oil and with fewer visitors, if I kept tweaking the inputs just right I'd come out with an experience that was holy and empowering and blissful and transformative.

What on earth was I thinking?

Because even though nobody violated my dignity or separated me from my child, even though the care and the time of day and the general circumstances of this birth were impeccable... still it was inexplicably traumatic. It was still gross and embarrassing and nightmarishly painful. I still have to deal with a body that is a bleeding oozing pussing cramping broken disgusting exhausted mess.

And really, it's a terrible time to celebrate mother's day, four days after giving birth, because my breasts are swollen bowling balls and my abdomen hurts when I laugh and my taint burns like a warzone and I have all these boys I want to take care of but can't do my job of being a good mama.

I want this part to be over so I can go back to being chief splinter remover, chief hat knitter, chief mac and cheese maker (okay, so maybe Dan and I fight over that last one.)

And as much as I love my big boy Harvey and my cutey little piglet Zion, I will never love the cat-like cries of a newborn or the process with which they came into the world.


I had to comment on this because, wow, you're being much too hard on yourself. You are a mama who gets to celebrate the wonders of sustaining a life for 9 months and beyond. Forget the birth stuff and remember the beauty of the being who exists because of you. I had planned a natural birth and wound up with an 18 hour med-free labor followed by a C-section - I cannot imagine anything more humiliating and traumatizing than that and would have taken the burning taint over the weeks of abdominal discomfort and disfigurement I have experienced as a result of my birth experience. Rejoice, mama!

I really liked this post. I can relate to that feeling of firstly wanting to control the birth experience for it to be life-affirming and empowering and such, and also that feeling of it being traumatic. Of course, I gave birth in a hospital, and only once, but that extreme lack of control felt like something universally terrifying.

I still can't quite get my head around your not being pregnant anymore— it feels kindof sudden! And I am so excited to meet Zion.

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