Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Mothers' little helper

Last week at childbirth class, the instructor spoke about trying to get past some of our major fears and concerns about the childbirth experience, saying that working through our fears could help prevent serious problems. She mentioned specifically fears about how much or little pain we could handle, about what might go wrong, and about how past sexual or emotional abuse could hinder us. We need to believe in ourselves and that the experience can go well.

Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for a while
If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for a while

As you might imagine, my biggest fear, the one I realized as I sat in class trying not to let the tears fall, is my mother not being there. At that moment, I realized that I need my father to be there. On the way home, I talked it out with Brooke: I would discuss it with my father, tell him I wanted him to be there. Maybe I’ve seen too many episodes of Six Feet Under, but as far as I can tell, no good could possibly come from my mother making an appearance at the birth. Brooke nodded. Dad chuckled. We were all in agreement.

When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for a while
There's a train leaving nightly called when all is said and done
Keep me in your heart for a while

Dad and I have a few different ideas about the hospital birth experience. He’d rather be at the hospital too early than too late, but my mother’s births, at least her second and third, were both on the shorter end of average. She was really only in active labor for six hours with both my brother and with me, and she managed to have births free of pain medications, even with a heavy dose of Pitocin while she labored with my brother. My medical care, I gently reminded him, was to be decided by Brooke, me, and the midwives. We left the specifics of when we’d call him up in the air. As long as I know he’s coming when I need him, I’ll be okay.

Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house
Maybe you'll think of me and smile
You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for a while

Last night, after running around the house screwing things—sash locks, door stoppers, a mirror—back in place post-painting, Brooke and I sat in down in the other bedroom, also known as the guest room, the baby’s room, and the blue room, and pondered having a baby. We mentally rearranged furniture and discussed where to put various decorations. The last few songs on the Warren Zevon cover album (Enjoy Every Sandwich) were playing.

Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

“Keep me in your heart” was on, and I hummed along. One of us, I can’t recall which now, brought up playing music for Ebry. Ebry, the super-active fetus who enjoys midnight games of Whack A Mole in utero, would surely dance for us when we played music. “Something peppy,” I said, thinking about these energetic nights, “but something meaningful.” The solution, of course, was Sleater-Kinney’s “Little Babies.” A little bit of riot grrl fun with a dash of tender loving care.

I’m the water i’m the dishes I’m the soap
I will comfort make you clean help you cope
When you’re tired feeling helpless
Come inside i am the shelter
And then when you’re feeling better
I’ll watch you go

Dum dum dee dee dee dum dum dee dum do
All the little babies go oh oh i want to
Dum dum dee dee dee dum dum dee dum yeah
Rock the little babies with one two three

Are you hungry did you eat before the show
I peeled potatoes set the table washed the floor
I know the others treat you rough
And when you know you’ve had enough
You’ll come and see me cos you know
I’m always here

Mother’s little helper
And Ebry? Not a single movement from the time I secured the headphones around my belly until well after I had taken them off. So much for the uterus-as-moshpit I had imagined.


At 2:44 PM, Anonymous a different brooke said...

that was really beautiful emilin. thanks for sharing with us :)

At 9:29 AM, Blogger flyoverguy said...

I got all teary because I miss Zevon so much.

Glad everything is progressing normally.


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