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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ponderous and Strange

The baby folded into me, her breath soft against my neck. Little grunts and pink-fleshed fingers, ponderous and strange.

Her mother smiled, "You're a natural."

I raised my eyebrows, "I don't know." I held my breath as I shifted my feet, "I'm not sure I'm a baby person."

"I don't believe that for a second," she said, "When are you going to have one of your own?"

I glanced at Paul, at his long graceful fingers as he sliced the onions for the stuffing. So meticulous. Never rushed, "Well," I sighed, "If I could guarantee that my kids would be just like him, then I would have them tomorrow."

She frowned. "You're pretty great, too."

Images sprouted from the silence. Of crying jags and Zoloft. Heaviness. Yearning to fade into the sheets, soundless and insubstantial.

Her baby nestled against my sweater. "I've had a hard year. I really miss Arizona. I hate my job. I've been---" I used the official terminology, "struggling with depression."

She placed her hand on my knee. "That's hard."

I blinked, fighting the waves that came in such ferocious bursts. "Yup."

"But, Nancy?" I gazed into her eyes. "Aren't you glad that you were born?"

Inhaling the softness of that head, I couldn't help but say the truth, "Oh, yes. Most of the time, yes."

 A year later, she held my newborn son in her arms.

23 comments:

Galit Breen said...

Oh Nancy, I have chills.

I felt like I was right there wanting to cheer you on, and to respect your words at the same time.

I know that feeling- of wanting them to be like your other half. Never rushed- yes, that.

Beautifully told.

Formerly known as Frau said...

Okay tears in my coffee...
Life is tough I'm right there with you....but the joys of being a Mother make the world right. And sometimes life is still tough but their smiles and loves makes it all better and wine helps too!

Love your writing as always!!

MISH said...

Beautiful... tender... sensitive...

Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments said...

This post stabs at my heart because I am the daughter of a mother with significant mental illness.

You did such a great job with this prompt - I honestly felt like I was there.

Coby said...

This hit a nerve with me (in a good way)! I've been "struggling with depression" this year, and I just want to be a great, joyful mom and raise amazing sons who have the integrity and strength and kindness of their father...and am I doing enough?

What a great question: "Aren't you glad that you were born?"

Beautiful, my friend.

theworkinghousewife said...

Beautifully written Nancy! :)

angela said...

What a pivotal conversation; there are tears in my eyes. And I am sure Paul has thought about how he wished they would be just like you :)

I love how such simple words have the ability to portray such complex emotions and concepts. You did this beautifully.

Kristina said...

Oh, this is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Kir said...

I should be working..I should be finishing up my work for the day, since I'm off tomorrow and I have 3000 words to write tonight...

but I had to come over NOW..I had to tell you that this just blew me away and make me stop and think, it folded into me.

WOW, not only the conversation but the way you handed it to us. It was perfect in every way.

THANK YOU, for letting me read this.

Sara said...

I loved this dialogue. The line "Aren't you glad that you were born? is such a healing line, especially when one's holding a baby:~)

This was beautifully written!

christine said...

This gave me chills too. As someone who has also struggled with depression, this post touches me on such a deep level. Thank you, for sharing this conversation.

Kathleen Basi said...

Beautiful...simply beautiful.

Astra said...

Ah, doesn't that just bring a smile to my face? Thank you for sharing this joy!

Natalie @ MamaTrack said...

So, so beautiful. I think I would have teared up even without the pregnancy hormones. I loved it. What an awesome conversation.

Rachel @ Totally Ovar It said...

So beautiful, Nancy. I barely have words because your words touched my heart so deeply. Thank you for admitting there is depression out there. Thank you for your heartfelt conversation and the lovely accompanying actions.

Cameron said...

Remember the conversation we were having about each of us having our voices?

I do so love to sink into yours.

Julie said...

If only all people were this thoughtful about the consequences of sharing their lives...

"You're pretty great, too."

Indeed.

Mihee said...

poignant...really moving...

Joanna Jenkins said...

You captured the conversation and moment perfectly.
jj

tsonodablog said...

Nancy that was lovely. I could feel the softness of it. I had goosebumps. Just lovely.

Kim said...

Gulp. So beautiful Nancy. That uncertainty you feel before becoming a parent yourself - you got it spot on here.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

What a beautiful story - perfectly written.

Ash said...

Because it's always about me, I'm VERY glad you were born.

I wish all mothers were as thoughtful. Your sons are blessed. Paul too. XO