Sunday, October 4, 2009

How Far We Have Come

I was going through some papers and found this poem (below) that I had written when I was pregnant, just after my friends Jamie and Kate had their babies, just after my friend Delphine found out she was pregnant again after two miscarriages... When I read my words I remembered that time and how it felt... the moment before everything changed. I felt so vulnerable.


This is the year we all began to reproduce

Individual decisions turning into a movement

As if a mandate had been issued

I am no longer in the habit of praying

And I have ceased to believe in a god

sitting smugly behind a customer service desk

doling out wishes and denying pleas

Still, in times like these I want to send out requests:

Let the two little boys just born in New York thrive

Where the staples are on their mother’s bellies, let skin grow together

When they pass the wand over my friend’s stomach today,

let there be a heart beat this time

And let the baby in my own body be born

And let it grow up and beyond me and in spite of me

Moving blind in the direction of motherhood

We give our bodies over to the next generation

We have no idea how to do this

Or what we have chosen

But it is far too late to undo this

We are already believers; our love already unleashed

We are in over our heads

We are fumbling with fragile things.

And so, though they have no target

I am inclined to send out requests

In recognition that we are caught up

In events beyond our understanding

And out of our control





Now all of the babies are here, and we are all mothers. Sometimes I think we forget to give ourselves credit for all we have learned, for what we have become. We went from being handed these fragile beings, knowing nothing, to who we are today. We still feel like we know nothing, but we have these healthy, happy children as proof of what we have learned, and of our success. Its so hard to remember our successes on the hard days.

Ellis, Jack and Iris

Ellis and Emmett

My aunt recently sent me a card that said simply, "You are doing a great job." Such simple words, but so needed. I have tried to pass those words on to the other mothers I know: In spite of all the doubts and trials and errors, you are doing a great job.