Five years ago today, Gracie was born. I had an appointment to be induced at 9 a.m. Something about having an appointment to have a baby feels very unnatural. I’d always imagined rushing out the door once my water broke the way they do in the movies. But when I woke up that morning, my contractions had started. It wasn’t going to be unnatural after all. The first half of labor was very boring and unlike the movies. My water didn’t even break. They broke it for me. The second half was hell on earth where I came down with an instant case of Tourette Syndrome. I just wanted it all to end.
And then it did. Becoming a mother for a split second is a very odd feeling. The nurse wrapped up the baby and placed her in my arms and expected me to coo all over her. I didn’t know how to react. I felt like I shouldn’t be holding or touching the baby. I was in a fragile state, afraid that touch would change my mind. Nona spent the night in the hospital room with me and took care of Grace when she fussed. I wanted it that way. She is her mother.
I tried to think about anything other than this baby. So I thought about myself. Matt went out and bought me a #10 from McDonald’s. I read Us Weekly and about how Denise Richards dropped all her baby weight in six weeks. Skinny bitch. Nearly two years later, I was finally within 15 pounds of my pre-baby weight. I thought about my move to Nebraska in a few days and how the change would do me good.
It sounds selfish, but being a non-mother, you really only have yourself to look out for.
Gracie’s parents send me pictures and emails about how she’s doing and I’m happy. Happy, but with a catch in my throat. Because no matter how selfish you are, something changes in you when you bring a life into the world. You think of other people. There is life outside yourself. Even if you try to ignore it, it’s there, pushing tears out of your eyes.