Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I don't want to talk about the miscarriages.

Shall we talk about the miscarriages?

That I lost two chances. Two. How many do we get, do you think? Chances to love like that? Not many, I'm guessing.

Don't let's have the "cast your burdens on the Lord" conversation, though. Okay? I mean, that's all very poetic and Sunday-school teacher's pet of you, but do you know what else it is? Absolute crap.

And on the flip side, somewhere among the hospital beds and cold, hospital floors, the florescent lights and needles, sat my husband, tired and worried, who looked at me then in the darkest moment of my life, and told me I was beautiful. Bone weary, bleeding, hollow-eyed and full of the death of our first child, and still beautiful. It was nothing like the movies.

And well meaning friends who do not know about these little losses, who so good-naturedly try to tell me what pregnancy is like, to give me a few hints for when it's my turn. But I know what pregnancy is "like". It has already been my turn.

It's strange. There were clearly two miscarriages, but they somehow feel like one long, drawn out loss. I lost the first just before Christmas, the second in late March. They were distinct, though. I remember each with the perfect clarity of a mother memorizing her child's freckles. I remember how each felt, and the exact moment I knew I had lost them. That virtue had gone out of me.

Even as a child I had melancholy nailed. (And that Donald Duck, what a creeper.)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mothers Day will kill us all!

Oh this holiday. This poor, misunderstood holiday. This draggly little thing that just keeps getting pulled into catfights despite its best intentions. Mothers' Day: The Day You Just Can't Win So Stop Trying Before You Offend Someone!

Either you are a mother, and it's hard and you want/deserve more than a consumerized day of hallmark cards and heart-shaped necklaces once a year and could someone PLEASE just take the baby so you can sleep in...

Or you are not a mother, but you have a mother - unless you don't because she died when you were young or left you to pursue a career in basket weaving or she stuck around but was horrible and gave you every imaginable psychosis about your weight and your voice and the way you stand...

Or you aren't a mother and you desperately want to be, but you can't conceive or maintain a pregnancy or jump through the myriad hoops of adoption and every other person keeps telling you how you are still a mother anyway because you smile so nicely at children, as if they believe that lie will somehow fill your empty arms with the squishy lump of baby you so desperately want...

Or you are a mother but you feel inadequate and are so overwhelmed, so frazzled and tired of hearing about how perfect mothers are and how everyone's mother is a saint, because you are not a saint you are a woman who just wants the kids to stop fighting and go to bed on time so you can brush the goldfish crumbs off the couch and watch Game of Thrones in peace but sometimes you lose your temper and you do not fill their lives with a constant stream of approbation and unicorn laughter and so you feel like maybe you alone have failed at this magical holiday...

Or you are a mother but that is NOT all you are and you would for once like to be seen as something more than a womb, more than place to wipe a booger, more than the keeper of the shoes and backpacks and favorite shirts because you do not want to be lost among the detritus of their childhood and watch your personhood fade and everything else you are capable of swept under the rug of motherhood...

Or you are a man, and your mother was perfect/horrid/gone and your wife is perfect/horrid/gone/depressed/in love with the pool boy and no matter what you do it will be too much and not enough at the same time and someone will probably cry and it will be your fault and you will not really understand what you did wrong only you really wish this day were over...

Me too.

There are, of course, people who make the best of this day. They enjoy it while it is here and move on when it is gone. But the rest of us seem so harried by it, as though the day were invented solely to offend us.

What is it about mothering and mothers that upsets us so? Is it because it is so fundamental? So important? Or is it just a facet of our culture, one that we should analyze and reinvent? Or is it the fluoride in the water? I'll bet you were expecting me to finish up with some solution or closure or interesting reflection on this problem. But, I've got nothing. I'm one of those women without children who would rather not be told she is somehow, magically, a mother anyway.  And I've got sisters and friends in each of the other camps and a husband who will do his best no matter what happens.

But it's just a day, right? It's just an arbitrary holiday, between Victory Day and Armed Forces day.

I don't know what you should do to deal with this day. I know that I should probably make the best of it, and stop counting the days since my last miscarriage as though it were the Anno Domini of my life. But I am, like all mothers and non-mothers and women and men and bumbling fools on this planet, only human.