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21 weeks | It ain’t always the weather (that keeps us inside) | no. 0014
One of the characters in my fiction series, Lady Ziomi, never leaves her house. She is an agoraphobic and I’m still piecing together her peculiar arc from girlhood to womanhood to find out why she’s like this. Lady Ziomi, like most of my characters, is born out of wondering what life would be like if some anxiety space of mine really did swallow me whole. With her story, I am able to play around with the fears I sometimes have about navigating the outside world. In just these few months of be(come)ing mother to the munchkin, I have been even more overwhelmed by my worries, especially when we’re in public spaces. At the root of these various hypotheticals known to run loose in my mind is the same horrible thing. But I don’t want to lose him.
I often wonder what the effect of having my miscarriages has been on my spirit. On the one hand, I can see that clearly I have overcome many things, leaped wholeheartedly into the hope of the best possible outcomes, and created the miracle of all miracles, my son. And on the other hand, I grapple all the time with a beast that gnaws on me. At times it feels like I’m sinking deeper into the anxiety. There is a definite weariness to all of this. This epic fight to believe in the inconceivable, anyway. To make things grow where once they had died.
I watch the munchkin, constantly. I stand in the doorway when he naps and look for the subtle rise and fall of his blanket. He’s breathing. I take none of his breaths for granted. In the car, I’ve yet to be able to sit in the front seat, because I feel I need to be back there with him. In case. Always, just in case the unspeakable were to happen. I go over in my mind what I would do to rescue the moment from tragedy, and it’s never enough. Sometimes, I literally shake my head from side to side to physically clean out the bad thoughts. Put on some music for him, I tell his father. But I’m the one who needs a song to soothe my mind.
Oscar is not afraid of anything. And so I partly fell in love with him because I knew he would face the world with me when things happened that were cruel, or unfair, or just part of the hard lessons of life. I was thinking ahead from our first date, assessing that he’d not only be a great father, but that he’d happily be the brave one. Somehow when growing up, I got it in my head that every child wants that parent who’s the hero, who’s invincible, who’ll stand up to anything. This is why you need each other. This wasn’t me, or so I thought. But writing all these stories is one way to be fearless it seems.
It’s not the winter that’s been keeping us from exploring the world. At the altar of my imperfections, I also place this prayer: I need help trusting that I can do the mothering outside the certainty of home. That the everyday hiccups that sometimes happen when you’re out living life don’t have to leave scars. But if they do, there can still be a beautiful life after loss. As a mother, I want to reach through the multitude of things that scare me. Show my child that courage can be as simple as walking out your front door.
The munchkin, my first born, was born on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy is an ongoing multi-media documentary project about my process as a mother. Today’s story is a part of Volume 1, 73 consecutive weeks of posts, spanning about the first year and a half of the munchkin’s life. Each episode explores my weekly discoveries, challenges, questions, and hopes as a mother. I also facilitate the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop for all mothers and women active in their mothering work who are excited about cultivating their own writing practices.