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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)

TITLE: Baby Blues
By Sharlyn Guthrie


As I reach up from the wheelchair to accept the tiny bundle my eyes widen and my heart seizes. “Are they really going to let me take you home, little one? What makes them think I can care for you properly? I killed all my African violets, for heaven’s sake! And last week I totally slept through Roger’s raucous card game. The cat nearly trips me before I remember to feed him. What if I forget to feed you?” Anxious thoughts erupt one after the other, causing my raised hands to shake.

“Are you okay? A little tired, perhaps? Maybe I should push him down in his bassinette.” As if my own worries aren’t enough. Now I’ve managed to alarm the nurse.

“I’m fine.” The infant moves only slightly as his cocoon is nestled into the crook of my arm. He draws my attention like a magnet, making me barely aware of our procession down the hall. He is warm and beautiful. Delicate eyelashes rest on sumptuous cheeks punctuated by a comma for a nose. The shape of a heart adorns his upper lip, resting on the beginnings of a pout. “What was it that Grandma said about his chin? Ah yes, ‘an angel must have kissed him there, for a perfect dimple remains as evidence.’”

“My son is beautiful, not handsome.” The sudden revelation, or else the jolt of the descending elevator, causes my stomach to lurch. “Will the other children think he’s girly? Call him names like ‘wimp’ or ‘pretty boy?’ Will he get picked on at recess and eat his lunch by himself, causing his teachers to whisper among themselves and shake their heads with pity?”

The door has opened again and my son and I are wheeled toward the lobby. I relax a little as onlookers pause, regarding us tenderly. Apparently I don’t look as inept as I feel. Maybe I’m not an unfit mother after all.

That thought evokes an unwelcome memory from three Sunday nights ago. It was time for my hourly trek to the bathroom to relieve my restricted bladder. The dog whined to relieve hers as well, so I picked her up and waddled to the back door, whacking her in the head with the door as I opened it. She leapt from my arms and cowered, whimpering under the picnic table. She still tucks her tail between her legs whenever I approach. “What if I accidentally harm my own child? Or worse yet, frighten him by losing my temper? Will he someday wince when I raise my hand? Will he run to hide when I call his name?”

A kiss on my forehead interrupts my frightful retrospection. “Motherhood suits you,” Roger whispers. “You positively glow.”

Touching my flushed cheeks, I smile faintly. Oblivious as usual, Roger is simply being his easy-going self. Yet somehow at this moment his jovial, laid-back manner irritates me.

“Here, honey. Why don’t you take your little prince and fasten him into his car seat?” Sarcasm rolls off my tongue with the words. “I assume you have it properly installed and all the straps sorted out and adjusted.” I watch for any hint of trepidation, but there is none. Roger calmly lifts our son, placing him gently into his seat, only slightly fumbling with the straps he is fastening. All the while he croons a soothing lullaby.

Un-beckoned tears squeeze out, streaming down my cheeks, releasing my worries, my doubts, my fears like a flood. Whether it’s unbalanced hormones or a bad case of the jitters, I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t have to do this alone. The God of the universe has promised never to leave me. And Roger, my amazing, even-tempered, God’s gift of a husband, promised the same thing.

I settle into the back seat next to our son who continues his peaceful sleep, totally unaware of my inexperience and insecurities. He absolutely trusts in my ability to care for him. Surely I can rest as peacefully in God’s strength and trust as fully in His power.

Glancing sideways, I note that our baby’s pout has turned into a lop-sided smile, and fresh concerns tumble through my mind. “Is he still breathing? Are his nerves and muscles all connected right? Will the left corner of his mouth always droop like that?”

Be still, my fretful soul.

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This article has been read 1144 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sherry Wendling08/31/07
Hmmm...I'm pretty sure I know who wrote this one! I'm one of your devoted admirers, and this tender unveiling of a new mother's soul doesn't disappoint! (If you're not who I think you are, then you just gained a new fan.)
Kristen Hester08/31/07
I wish I had written this. I can so remember all those feelings of fear (and the dreams of forgetting the baby all together). This is WONDERFUL! NOTHING can prepare a mom or keep her from these familiar feelings. She just has to survive them and trust in God and learn from experience. (Then with surprise baby #4 it's actually FUN!) You captured the feelings perfectly. GREAT WRITING.
Lynda Schultz 08/31/07
Wonderful writing. My mother once told me that she was a whole lot more relaxed by the time I was born — she got all those anxieties looked after with my brother!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/31/07
How wonderfully you captured the feelings of a new mother. Long years past, I remember them still. Miraculously, my beautiful baby boy became a handsome man. I love how you combined humor and pathos and faith in this tender story.
Pat Guy 08/31/07
Ah ... yes - you've touched the soul of motherhood. So awesomely overwhelming.

Joanne Sher 09/02/07
Oh, can I ever relate! This is just right and SO believable. I think every mother has lived this one! Excellent.
Dee Yoder 09/02/07
Beautiful! I so remember these feelings, and my baby just turned 15! Great writing. So full of the emotions of the new Mom.
David Butler09/03/07
Very moving and poignant.
Being present at my children's births, I've seen a little of the bonding and fears that a mother experiences. I couldn't imagine what she'd go though with the complications of major health issues in her life as well. Us mere males need to be made aware of these things. You've done it well.
Jan Ackerson 09/03/07
Superb! Every emotion precisely true and masterfully rendered. This is absolutely wonderful.
Tammy Johnson09/03/07
Oh my! You captured those new mom fears beautifully! I caught my breath as I read the description of your sweet baby - such perfect, vivid description! I can still see my own baby's newborn pout from your description. Bravo!
Rhonda Clark09/03/07
I think all new mothers have these feelings. You did a wonderful job conveying them.

Great work.
Laurie Walker09/03/07
So fantastically put.

And by the time you reach number five, you're still a mess ;)
Jacquelyn Horne09/03/07
Oh, the doubts of a new mother. You captured it well.
Sheri Gordon09/04/07
This is beautiful. You captured the fears of new mothers worldwide. Your writing is very engaging, and your descriptive phrasing is perfect. Great job with the topic.
Linda Watson Owen09/04/07
My! Another story that makes me say, "I've been there!" So skillfully written with just the right touch of descriptive images and engaging characterization. You put us in this young mother's shoes, and I bet many readers are finding them to be an exact fit! Great job!
Marilee Alvey09/05/07
This was a great piece. You know, when my first child was born, I turned on a music box planter I'd gotten and cried because it was nine o'clock and "visiting hours are now over" the announcment said. My husband came into the room. He asked me what I was crying about. "You didn't want a girl, you wanted a boy," I bellowed. "You have to leave. Visiting hours are now over." "What are you talking about?" he asked incredulously. "I'm the husband, and, no I didn't want a boy." Baby blues, all right. A week later, I told myself I would not inform him that our daughter was mentally handicapped. I would suffer in silence. He would find out soon enough. When he came home, I broke down. "What are you talking about?" he asked. "Look at how her eyes wander," I explained. "All newborns' eyes do that," he answered. My daughter would later graduate summa cum laude and speak six languages fluently. Yep, that's what the baby blues can do for you! Your precious story was very relatable. Thanks for the memories!