Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)
TITLE: The Evolution of Progress
By Julie Arduini
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“It’s time to feed you again?”
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 I’m 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.
I don’t 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 don’t 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.
Even his daddy’s 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. I’m 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.
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 pastor’s wife wants to make sure I’m healing well. My sister threatens to come over if I don’t respond. My only link to sanity is the fantasy of me grabbing the car keys and driving with no intention of return.
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 can’t give. My sister is showing her brother in law how to clean house while praying for me. Our pastor’s 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.
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, I’m calling the doctor to confess my true health. As father and son convene at the changing table, I’m pretty sure a voice praised the Lord. What I’ve put my boys through.
Fear tries to dress me but I need to get to church. David only woke twice and the nursing wasn’t 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 I’m doing.
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 I’m captured by the spark of love I feel for this miracle. I feel the tears coming again.
A friend approaches us and asks if she can hold my David. Craig looks to me and I clear my throat.
“I hope you understand, but not right now. I’m enjoying the moment too much to let him go.”
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