What’s Beautiful is What’s Broken
I remember looking down at my swollen belly and marveling at the creation happening inside me. Before kicks, before movement, it was there, growing inside of that tiny little home called a uterus. I fully embraced pregnant life with gusto. Perhaps too much because I gained fifty five (55) pounds those ten months. I firmly believed my nutrition and exercise were in check and that I was growing a hums being, after all, but dammit I was hungry and hormonal. Bring me a donut, stat!
There were also other things growing inside me while I was pregnant. Things I wish weren’t trying to sidle up and steal my joy like they had every other precious moment in my life. Included in this list were fun things like depression, anxiety, worry, feelings of isolation and loneliness from finishing a job midway through pregnancy and deciding to be a temporary stay at home and write kind of mom. Meanwhile I was warding off nasty feelings of resentment, fear of abandonment and anger about my mother’s absence in my life. I call it “motherless mothering.”
As if all this merriment was not enough, I knew there was a chance my son could be born with the same rare genetic disorder I carried which affected skin, hair, teeth, nails, sweat glands, respiratory. You know, nothing major. A fifty-fifty shot to get it right. Of course, I failed at that, too.
My son spent the first month of his life in a hospital being born then going to NICU for three weeks. We enrolled him in a study for his disorder to give him a protein which might help his sweat glands, hair and teeth grow. He only has minimal sweat glands and six teeth buds. Some kids never get any teeth or sweat glands. So far so good.
The guilt I felt for the first months of his life lingered and manifested in weird ways like me crying over his crib while he slept or apologizing to him for making him weird the rest of his life. Then I got a grip and realized among those affected he was so mild they didn’t even think he had anything wrong.
I have spent the last eight postpartum months trying to shed weight; physical, spiritual and emotional. My mom is no more present than before, but I am learning to be ok with that. My body refuses to shed the pounds. Oh well, keep moving forward. My son still has a rare genetic condition but it’s not life threatening. He’s beautifully broken, like me, and for that I’m blessed and grateful.