Sunday, May 17, 2015

Book #20: The Blue Jay's Dance

I know why I stopped reading this "memoir of early motherhood" by the lyrical Louise Erdrich after picking it up last fall for book club: The first quarter of it is about being pregnant and giving birth to one of her daughters.

Most of the time I don't think about the fact that I did not give birth to my son. Usually, I enjoy reading the experiences women write about their own pregnancies and childbirth, thinking, somehow, that I can live vicariously through their words.

But in the past year, I've discovered a place deep inside me that is painful when touched, and I have to set aside whatever touched it.

Like The Blue Jay's Dance.

It catches me off guard, this pain. A few months ago, for example, someone I care about had an unplanned c-section and she was grappling with her feelings about not having a chance to hold her son until a few hours later, after he was all cleaned up and dressed. That he didn't seem like her child in the same way her first son did disconcerted her. Nursing made a difference, but she still felt a real sense of loss.

I mourned with her.

Then suddenly and over and over, tears flowed unbidden as I found myself grieving my own wrenching sense of loss: I am a woman who will never, ever know what it is like to create life. Ever. I will never know what it is like to bond with my own flesh and blood. I will never nourish a child with my own body.

This is why I decided to pick the book up again and finish it this week: Today is my son's 16th birthday. And I love him.

I am lucky mom.

Update the next day: In case anyone reads this and thinks they need to walk on eggshells around me, please, please, please don't think that. I very much want to share in your joys and sorrows. Just last night, in fact, I dreamed my sister told me she was expecting a baby. All I felt was pure happiness at the thought.


Wendy said...

Isn't it amazing that there are pools of fresh tears hiding inside us throughout our lives, that are suddenly tapped and released, only to be secretly refilled when we aren't looking? I continue to appreciate your words.

Margy said...

Wendy, that is a beautiful way to put it. Thanks!