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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: The Evolution of Progress
By Julie Arduini


12:00 A.M

ďItís time to feed you again?Ē

I sense my chest swelling, dripping and radiating heat. I feel more like a working cow than the beaming first time mom all the commercials portray.

My stomach coils at the thought of this offspring of mine touching me again. I should rush to the crib in maternal ecstasy, but Iím so far away from that emotion it scares me. I carry the scar of an emergency surgery those precious books never prepared me for. I remember the phrase they wrote on my chart regarding the C-Section.

Failure to progress.

I choose to focus on the first word.

5:00 A.M.

I donít care what my body says, I ignore the alarm. I hear him starting to whimper and I shudder. I know I have to get up but my legs feel like lead. I donít want to do this. I am not cut out for this. What was God thinking allowing me the desire of my heart? I have no business being a mother. I just want to sleep.

8:00 A.M.

Even his daddyís circling caress on my arm does not help me start daylight with glee. He wants to encourage, I know. The hungry nine pound chunk seems to only require my milk coursing through his body 24/7. His daddy whispers that he is here for me, that he is praying. I fall back on my pillow and sob. Iím afraid my maternal failure running through my veins will bitter the milk supply. If this is anything like prison, I know why some inmates go mad.

5:00 P.M.

I am sleeping away a gorgeous Saturday. The other moms are at the park showing off their victories while I hibernate. When daddy presents me with our crying tax dependent, the tears fall once again. The phone keeps ringing but husband answers. My mom is checking in. Our pastorís wife wants to make sure Iím healing well. My sister threatens to come over if I donít respond. My only link to sanity is the fantasy of me grabbing the car keys and driving with no intention of return.

6:00 P.M.

Apparently the blank dead feeling inside me is visible on the outside. A knock on the door reveals an intervention of sorts. Mom is going to fill the baby with coos and love I just canít give. My sister is showing her brother in law how to clean house while praying for me. Our pastorís wife just opened her arms and I fell in. She prays, asking the Lord to heal me of these feelings. To restore my hormones and cast out the blues. To fill me with a sense of confidence and honor that I birthed a child, no matter what some hospital chart says. I wail along with our son, waves of depression rolling off me.

9:00 P.M.

Mom remains; assuring me one cup of tea is okay for both me and her grandson. She explains her bout with the baby blues, tears falling as she transports in time with the memory. I had no idea other moms felt the same. I never knew my own mother wanted to run away. This is a balm of hope for me. She lets me know come Monday, Iím calling the doctor to confess my true health. As father and son convene at the changing table, Iím pretty sure a voice praised the Lord. What Iíve put my boys through.

9:00 A.M.

Fear tries to dress me but I need to get to church. David only woke twice and the nursing wasnít as painful. I actually ran my fingers through his jet black mess of hair and smiled. I choose his outfit for church and pack extra selections. Finally something instinctive kicks in. I almost know what Iím doing.

10:00 A.M.

Craig leads David and me to a pew towards the back. He is protective of us both, squeezing my shoulder. I sit close to him. David is sleeping and would do just fine in his car seat, but I massage his back as he rests on my front. I hear the sermon but Iím captured by the spark of love I feel for this miracle. I feel the tears coming again.

12:00 P.M.

A friend approaches us and asks if she can hold my David. Craig looks to me and I clear my throat.

ďI hope you understand, but not right now. Iím enjoying the moment too much to let him go.Ē

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 05/02/08
I had to smile at your "working cow" description. :) Your writing is gripping. The depression your describe is so heart-breaking. You have some great phrases, "our crying tax dependent", "showing off their victories". I loved reading of the "balm of hope for me" that your mother relayed. Your writing of what a lot of women experience after childbirth is very good. I pray others may be helped by reading this.
nicole wian05/03/08
Very good writing and on a subject many are scared to write about but which needs to be written about.
Marilyn Schnepp 05/04/08
True confessions of a new mother - these thoughts made me feel much, much better. I thought I was the only one in the world to harbor such thoughts at the beginning. Thank you for sharing...and very nicely done.
c clemons05/05/08
Nice work and I like the title.
Sara Harricharan 05/08/08
Congratulations Julie! This puts you in Master's now, right? Awesome writing! I liked how you marked the passage of time and the changing feelings all the way throughout, very nicely done!
Betsy Markman05/08/08
I have to thank you for this because it speaks so eloquently to the kind of pain I felt with my newborns, and to the growing of love as time passes. Well done.
Myrna Noyes05/09/08
WOW! This is an excellent portrayal of the "baby blues"! Your last line was so perfect, too! I congratulate you on your well-deserved EC and your move up to Masters!! :)
Holly Westefeld05/09/08
Julie, you really nailed this one. It's been a long time, but I remember. Congratulations!
Kristen Hester05/10/08
Perfect portrayal of "baby blues." This is great. Congrats!
Debbie Wistrom05/10/08
Your format worked well for me. I can't personlly identify, but you certainly make it easier to feel what some mothers do feel .

I especially liked it when she fianlly showed concern for "her boys", Those two words stick with me after reading this well done entry.

Lisa Huber05/13/08
Although I've heard this story from you before, as I read it, it drew me in and took me through a roller coaster of emotions with you.

God has blessed your writing. Thanks for stepping out of your comfort zone and into the waters of where HE wants you.