BY JACKIE LEONARD
When I sat down to write this story, I couldn’t figure out whose it was to tell. I considered my son, because it was the day he entered the world. And he, above all, should know. Shortly after giving birth, I wanted to journal an entry to myself, so that I could always look back and read through every single detail. But even that didn’t quite feel satisfying.
Instead, this story is dedicated to you, dear body, as a sign of appreciation. As a confession. As a peace offering. As an acknowledgement of the work you put in with me, and sometimes, in spite of me.
After all, it is because of you that I am a mother.
It started and ended with water. Everything before, and everything after is hazy. But I remember the water and appreciating the way the patter of its pressure felt against your skin. Counter pressure against our hips had worked so well leading up to this point. Now, it was time for water. Water so hot there was probably a little steam radiating from you. This was the hottest it had been since before we started growing this life. I missed the hot baths and the hot tubs, especially after a long day at work.
Standing in the open shower of the master bathroom, eyes closed, jaw clenched, I wasn’t quite sure what I was bracing for. You, on the other hand, were orchestrating the whole show.
One contraction brought us down to our knees soon enough. The sharp grit of the floor tile and grout dug into our skin and it felt nice to diffuse some of the discomfort to another part of us.
This is when I felt us split. You taking control, and I, all in my head, focused more on doing the best I could to stay out of your way.
This writing was inspired by For Women Who Roar, a digital and print magazine featuring the voices, experiences, and art of women, and their #DearBody December Challenge.
Jackie Leonard - Jackie Leonard is the founder and editor of the Motherscope, an online magazine and community featuring contributor essays and interviews that promote women-centered endeavors and issues. Jackie has an MFA in Creative Writing and has worked as editor for multiple college and literary publications. She lives in San Diego with her husband and son.