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Rorschach

We never celebrated Mother’s Day, Adam and I.

I mean we called our mothers, sent them gifts and celebrated each of them, these two strong, soft women who brought us into the world- but we never celebrated Mother’s Day for me.

“I’m not a mother yet”, I objected reasonably when people asked Adam what he had planned. I was much happier thinking of my “first” Mother’s Day as being next May, with a squealing, giggling seven-month old wriggling around in my arms, scooting across the floor.

I’m not a mother yet.

Ask me if I ever thought I’d be where I was yesterday, eagerly sending grainy, blurry Rorschach-like photos of our baby still nestled inside of me to everyone in my address book.

Ask me if I thought I would be one of “those” women.

I never understood it, that attachment to ultrasounds, the way women paraded them around, framed them and worst of all (or so I thought before…before) the worst of them all – put them as their Facebook profile pictures. Why? Why?

I never understood it.

I’m not a mother yet.

Something shifted in me yesterday as I lay there in the uncomfortable silence of the exam room and the ultrasound technician slid her wand around my slippery belly. There was a fourth person in the room, referred to and pointed at on the screen and felt. Clearly felt.

       

“There’s baby’s feet,” she said in a routine monotone, and my heart stopped. I watched in astonishment as two flickering footprints appeared through the murky haze, the grey outlines of arches, tiny ghostly toes.

“Oh, hello to you too,” she intoned drily as we were looking at the baby (my baby,our baby’s head) and a flash swept by its face, a hand, opening and closing.

And then finally, that profile, that classic profile we’ve all seen a thousand times, but different now. Better now. The tiny snub nose, rounded forehead. Lips that look an awfully lot like mine. A tiny reclining Buddha, peaceful, quiet. 

I am boring people. I’m a one-track wonder these days. I sit at work and go through the motions but my mind is elsewhere. I fear I’m becoming one of those women (again, one of “those” women..who are they? Mothers?) who is gently, fully engrossed in herself, her pregnancy, her child.

I try to limit my conversation on the topic, I try to avoid bringing it up unless someone else does first. I try not to make every. single. post. I write on here refer back somehow to my pregnancy, this baby. “Not everyone cares about this pregnancy, this baby” I try and remind myself. I try to limit the navel gazing, the self-absorption. I try and remember what I used to write about before, I come up blank, the past a blur.

It’s impossible, the subject impassible. I cook dinner and feel a nudge. Sitting in a meeting I zone out as I feel small pokes, the roller-coaster feeling of baby turning over. I am lost, lost to this world.

I understand. Even though I’m not a mother yet.

I remember staring at these same images when proudly presented by others, trying to make out what, exactly, I was looking at. I was excited for them of course, but excited for them. Seeing them again a few months later with an infant in tow I would be shocked – “Oh! You had the baby!” As though time had stopped in my absence.

And now I am that woman, one of those women. I understand. Watching the flickering heartbeat yesterday, watching those chambers open and close and open and close, Adam gripped one of my feet and I think he felt it too – the taking hold of a fierce responsibility.

“Protect this” I thought instinctively, “Protect this at all costs.”

I want to take these photos, these very first photos of our child, and I want to make a whole photo album out of them, show strangers on the street – I can’t stop staring at those feet, those fingers, those lips.

I’m sorry, I’m lost. I’m a one-track wonder, spinning and spinning in my own little world.

I understand now. 

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