Tell Me About The Pain
August 9, 2015, 1:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was talking about pregnancy with some friends at work recently. Four of us, standing around the office; three of us having been pregnant and one who had not yet. We were discussing the not pleasant details; the gross and gory editorial of growing a human within the limited confines of your body.

“Tell me,” the inexperienced friend spoke.

“Tell me how bad the pain is, though. How painful is it to have a baby?”

I listened as the other two women spoke of contractions, of epidurals, of tearing.

It’s a painful ordeal. There is no denying that.

But here is what I wanted to say, but did not.

Yes, pregnancy is painful. Yes, labor is almost too much to bear.

But there is pain after that, dear friend.

There are no words that can accurately describe the pain you feel as a mother when that small child, that morsel of yourself, leaves the safety of your body. For nine months you keep them safe. They are always with you. They are attached to you in every possible way.

But as soon as that baby leaves your body, the will drift. They will sail like a ship on a the tide away from you. You may not realize it at first; at first they still need you for everything. You will be singular for some time. It will be exhausting and maddening and beautiful.

But then one day you will walk into their classroom to pick them up after a long day and they will not even stop what they are doing to greet  you. They will not bolt towards you and wrap their little arms around your neck. And in that moment you will realize that they are sailing towards the horizon and you are anchored in a harbor.

These tiny humans we grow are not ours to keep. No one tells you that in the books. They are our gift to the world. As soon as we birth them, we must accept that we are now sharing them the entirety of the world.

And that is perhaps the most wonderful sort of pain any mother can expect to get from this whole deal.

Pregnancy is painful.

Giving birth is painful.

But being a mother is the most painful of them all.


Existential Questions from a 4 Year Old
August 1, 2015, 2:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The other day my Tiny Human came up to me clutching a book; it was our wedding album. “Can we look at this, mommy?” We did. I sat next to her on the couch as she held the book in her lap, flipping through the bright memories. “You look like a princess, mommy,” she said. “And look, Daddy has hair.”

As we neared the end of the album, she seemed to be growing upset. She was flipping through the pages quickly and a lip jutted out. “What’s wrong? Don’t you want to look at the rest of the pictures?”

“I can’t find a picture of me.” Oh dear. 

“You weren’t there  yet.”

“Where was I?” Oh dear.

“You weren’t born yet.”

“Oh so I was in your tummy?” OH DEAR.

“No. You weren’t in my tummy.”

“Then where was I?”

And then I said the dumbest thing I have maybe ever said to my child:

“You didn’t exist yet.”

She sat there. Blinked a few times. Asked what that meant.

As I tried to explain to my 4 year old the concept of not existing, I realized that there was no way for this Tiny Human to understand a world that didn’t have her in it. The abstract image of me existing and her father existing and her not being there with us was too big for her.

And then I thought of something else.

I couldn’t grasp it either.

As I looked at the glossy images from my wedding; of us dressed up and laughing and having the time of our lives, I realized that she should have been there.

That she was there. 

Because what are our children, if not a physical manifestation of our happiness? Of our joy? Of our happiest days?

Tiny Human, you have always been there. You have always existed. Don’t worry.