Friday, October 7, 2016

Dear Small Boy #1

Dear Small Boy is a series of letters about perinatal depression. 

Dear Small Boy,

I am lying here alone after work, trying to finish my book, but you are kicking and kicking.

The light is streaming in from the kitchen window on to my book, it is quiet. The book is Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I like to read.

You kick and you kick, Small Boy. You are twenty-one weeks inside me, kicking, and I have not spoken to you yet because I don't know what to say.

Your father knows what to say. He has plans and ideas and words of love. He has songs and stories and nicknames and last week, when he was talking to you, you kicked so hard he felt it and he cried tears of joy. Already you know each other.

Do you know me? I am your home. I am who you are kicking. I am your mother.

I am your mother, but I am scared of you. Do you feel that? Is that why you're kicking? To say, "I'm here, Mom. I am real. Don't pretend I am not here." Kick, kick.

I am sorry that I'm not better. I always imagined I would be better. I imagined I would look at your grainy photo and swell with pride at my precious child, examining your features and counting your toes. I imagined I would feel your kick, kick, and gasp in excitement and rub my belly affectionately to feel even closer to you. I did not imagine it this way, with tears and panic and dread and- worst of all- indifference. I imagined this would feel beautiful and natural. This is not what I imagined.

Small Boy, you probably deserve so much better than me. But I am what you have. So please be gentle with me. I promise, Small Boy, I will try.


Your Mother

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