This wasn’t in the pregnancy books, or in the sage advice from my mother.
I wasn’t told that mothering would be easy. I wasn’t coddled or given unrealistic optimism. Motherhood is ridiculously difficult. Despite my feminist inclinations, I still wanted to be a Mother, with a capital “M”. It was still the “single most important thing” I as an individual could give to the planet; the future. Or something along the same propaganda vein.
Being a Mother wasn’t a primal feeling, or a long, thought out decision-making process with the ones I loved. It was much simpler. I wanted it. Maybe because I wanted to guarantee I’d have someone caring for me when I was older, maybe because babies with all of their babbling and chubby cheeks are adorable. When I say it out loud it sounds like I wanted a glorified pet. But that’s what’s comforting in life, isn’t it? Someone you can care for and who can care for you, when the diaper-wearing role reverses down the long line of average modern life.
So it’s simple, I did this for me. Selfishly.
She has green eyes, like me, reddish blonde hair, like I wish I had, and she’s wittier than a lovechild of Tina Fey and Woody Allen. She’s mine, she’s me, but better.
It would be easy to blame my selfishness. To say my body rejected her because I chose to harbor another human life only so I’d have someone obligated to love me. It’s easy enough for my husband, who barely looks at me without sobbing painfully, to say that I killed our child, his child.
It’s harder to say that it happened because it happened.
I would just love to tag along with the rest of the world. Say that because I didn’t take the pregnancy part of motherhood as seriously as the actual live baby part I am to blame.
“I want to try again,” I say to my husband.
“The doctors said it’d take a miracle to make you a mother again,” he scoffs and takes a swig of gin before vacating the room once more, leaving me in solitary confinement.
I am never not going to be a Mother.
I am the one who decided to go out on New Year’s Eve, five months pregnant with our bundle of life. I did go to that friend of a friend of a friend’s apartment, sipping cautiously on wine while the clock counted down on the year and my well-being. I was supposed to have a mother’s sense, not to trust strangers and put all else before the bundle of cells growing inside of my womb.
But was I really supposed to have the knowledge that my friends would lead me into harm’s way? That there really are people in this world within close enough range of my person that fetishize pregnant women? That my predator had a friend who was just as mentally disturbed as he was? I was supposed to expect to be drugged, brutally raped at the back of a noisy party, and have no one come to my aid.
Funny enough that what excited my rapists most they stole from me. Maybe they didn’t want to share with anyone else.
According to my husband this was no random occurrence. “Everything happens for a reason,” we’re told over and over again. It’s supposed to be comforting. I am the least comfortable I have ever been. I summoned this upon me because I was selfish? It was my fault? This was no logical action of reason. But I don’t have the energy to say anything back. I died along with my offspring.
I close my eyes and hear, “Mama”. “Mama” in a way that suggests anything but familial love. A way that a mother should never have to hear.
If that’s justice I have lost all faith in humanity. Almost as quickly as my loved ones lost faith in me.
Sure, after I felt the sticky blood between my thighs I drank; months later I’m still drinking. Still holding on to that creature required to love me by birthright. Praying to the only god I have known, forgiveness.
I am tired, though. Of begging people to believe that I love my child. So I refuse to stare into their scathing eyes, searching for redemption. I know what I am bound to. I know she is still mine, that I am still her Mother.
I cannot be happy. But at least I can finally close my eyes against my inability to placate others, and cradle my perfect little chubby girl against my breast.
She is so beautiful when she sleeps.