Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ghost Limb.

(smooshy.Hours old.)

After the birth of my son I was thrown into a mess of traumatic events that happened so fast I couldn’t even keep up to process them all at the time. Sort of like being on the highway, head hanging out of the window looking down at the ground. Just a blur of pavement your eyes cant wholly focus on. one long yellow line and gray fuzz.It didn’t happen to me, it came at me.

In the days that followed I grasped to anything I could to find answers. I looked to place a face with a name with a reason for what my son had to bear in his first few moments here.

In such a shitty, bad, big, ugly world your hope for your child is that they have as much fairy tale, mickey mouse, “the world is gracious and good” innocence for them as you can in their first few years. When they are pliable and na├»ve enough to believe that they are safe. That we can keep them safe. When that is ripped away from them and you are helpless to stop it, it’s a quick reminder that once they have left your body you can no longer control the good and the bad that enters their life. You can guard that gate all you like but even the greatest of protectors fall at the hands of their enemies. There are no guarantees for our children.

(smooshy.1 day old.)

As soon as Hendrix was out I craved him. I wanted him back inside me. I mourned the loss of my womb, my only real protection for my baby. I cried tears of joy when I was with him but the moment I left him to go anywhere other than our lil hospital room sanctuary I sobbed. I hated not being able to bring him with me. Within me. I would walk around with my hand placed on my stomach.

An empty apartment.

An abandoned building.

I begged my body to take him back. To protect him just a little longer. I would forget he was no longer a tenant and would suddenly wake from the haze to recall that he had jumped ship. And every time it hit me like a ton of bricks. Knocking the wind out of me.

"You are in my blood. I cant help it. We can't be anywhere except together"
— Weetzie Bat , Francesca Lia Block

A ghost limb he was.

I began to resent my body for purging itself of my baby. I began to blame it, to blame myself. My own body had become the enemy. I fought the urge to run screaming through the halls for help. I was drowning and choking on my own blame game.

The feeling of my missing limb lessens as the days bleed into weeks. I still miss him even when he’s just across the room.

I’m convinced that even into his adulthood I’ll have the faint calling from my body to shrink him down, roll him up, and place him back where he belongs. Safely sleeping, sucking his tiny fingers, inside his mother’s womb. But I’m learning to no longer look for his flutters and jabs in my sleep but to wait for his sighs and whimpers from my bedside. Instead of wrapping my arms around my burgeoning belly I wrap them around his ribcage. Small and fragile, rising and falling with each of his breaths. And it keeps the feeling at bay, just enough for me to get by. And that’s how it goes. My sanity relies on his breaths. Rising and falling.


  1. I feel like I am reading a novel I can't put down. You are an amazing writer and all I can say is more please!!! This is an incredibly moving article. I am so proud of you :-)

  2. Written from the soul of a mother.

  3. wow this is crazy good mama! loving it

  4. I agree with Karad22, you have a talent for the written word. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your every word; it flowed like a sweet prose. My favorite part was how you relate the experience to a "ghost limb". That fits succinctly.

    I also can relate to a tee, to...a...tee. I felt the exact same way after giving birth to my son, my first born. I would literally be walking around the house, holding my empty stomach and sobbing. My mother would ask me why I was crying and all I could get out was, "I'm not pregnant anymore, he's not inside me anymore." And she'd point to him fast asleep in the vibrating chair and say, "But, he's finally here! and you can hold him!" She just didn't get it. That few feet bewteen us was like miles.

    It was then and there that I realized motherhood was one long journey in learning how to let go...

  5. This is exactly how I felt after my baby was born. I remember the day leaving the hospital with her; putting her into the car, getting into the front seat, reaching to buckle my seatbelt and attempting to tuck it under my belly that was no longer there. I sobbed! I was so upset that she wasn't in my belly where I could protect her more. A beautifully written piece.

  6. Excellent piece of writing. I can totally relate to this feeling of wanting to keep protecting your child in the womb. On the one hand, as a mother you spend 9 months dying to meet your baby but when it's time to birth them, you don't want to let them go.

  7. The clarity with which you write is inspirational! Thank you so much!

  8. I have that feeling the whole time I am pregnant: I can't see them so I don't know if anything is wrong and all I can do is wait for kicks when I panic and then they come out and I really don't know if anything is wrong so all I can do is feel them breathing when I panic. For me (mother of a 3 year old boy and a 10 week old girl) motherhood has been laughs, hugs, kisses, worry & panic. It's beautiful and heart wrenching all at once.

  9. this is exactly how i felt when i had my daughter. i tried to explain it to my husband...the anxiety i felt when anyone else held her at first besides the two of us...that i didn't want to be apart for long, even if she was in the other room...and he thought i was a little nutty i think. especially when i told him i missed being pregnant. and i really did.

  10. Beautifully put! I felt like that the first time that I left my oldest child. It was just to go to dinner and we were gone for maybe 1.5 hours, but the whole time, I just felt like something was missing. I was in a panic and couldn't calm down and relax.

    Stopping by from SITS! Enjoy your day!

  11. Stopping by from SITS. Amazing story and amazing writing. I couldn't stop. I am very, very happy that you all are well. My heart kept stopping as I read.

  12. I felt this way when my son was born too, although our birth was not traumatic. I never knew anyone else did. Again, I love your writing.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  13. Saying hi from SITS and congrats on your day! I was so interested in this birth story. It is amazing what we go through but know it is all worth it in the end. Good for you for sharing the unvarnished truth. I, too, had a traumatic labor and birth with my first born. 51 hours and then his lungs would only half-inflate but they were able to get them working right in the birthing room, thank goodness. He was born during the era of "drive-through" births so I was sent home exhausted with a high-bilirubin count baby that wasn't feeding properly less than 16 hours after giving birth. Through our own smarts and the help of a good pediatrician and great lactation consultant, it all had a happy ending. But a fairy tale - it was not.

  14. I love love your writing style.

  15. You are a beautiful writer. And a stepmama like me. I'm addicted to your blog right now! I can relate to that feeling all too well...wanting your baby back inside your womb, protected from this scary life.

  16. Thank you for sharing your heart. I was thinking today very similarly as I held my 3 year old son. He didn't want to linger...he wanted to go and run and play...and I just wanted him back close to me again.

    Beautiful words...from an obviously beautiful woman - inside and out.

  17. I seriously am in love with the way you can describe everything with such emotion that I can't help but feeling that myself. Wow, just wow. I feel like I want to read your entire blog right now then go back and read it all over again.