Always adding never subtracting

Bearing a child is dirty business. Talking about bearing children is fraught. This is going to be triggering for some. I know so many people who haven’t been able to bear children, do not want to bear children, have lost them on the way, loathe the language I am using now (“they’re not children if they’re still in your body!”). But let me tell you about the acts of worry from my having borne a child, in the context of love. Because worrying is an act of love.

Love Letter Day 11.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who knew she would be more likely to have a child than to get married. This didn’t make much sense to her, but she knew from knowing only “single mothers” her whole life, that motherhood was likely and wifehood was not. That is, until she thought circumventing destiny would prove her higher intelligence and she determined to do neither. Nonetheless, the idea of a pregnancy was a notion she fixated on with every sexual encounter she had.

One day, after having gotten married to a person who expressed unconditional love, and after having dismissed a pregnancy or two, she looked at her life and said: I need to add and no longer subtract. I am ready to contribute to the world. Her husband disagreed until he didn’t. I don’t want to see you sad. Let’s do this. Changing her mind, leaving high pragmatism in favor of biological sentimentalism felt akin to joining a church late in life. People were incredulous. What is a beautiful, powerful bon vivant doing, going born again? Born again. Well anyway, some people looked askance. A minority of people to be honest. Most people were joyful. All four of the would be grandparents of the budding child were over the moon as none of their other children were going to propagate. The mother’s mother did not know she even wanted this in her life. Having a child is incredibly heartbreaking.

When you were the size of a pear inside my sexual organs, we had the opportunity to test for chromosomal disorders. I took a blood test and waited anxiously for two weeks to hear the results. I thought the duration of the wait was an indicator of a complexity of results, when actually the results had been determined very quickly and no one thought to call me with them because the results were all negative. I know it would distress many people to think I would make decisions of your existence based on the prerogative of ability—I admit to being ableist but am trying hard to unbraid my bias. The truth is that I was relieved to learn you would not necessarily have those traits to live up to in a society designed for someone with my traits—beautiful powerful bon vivant.

When you were the size of a cantaloupe pushing up against my digestive system, I started to drink beer again. I loved beer during this period. I loved drinking it so much. I didn’t overdo it, but I did drink it at all, which would also horrify some people. I worried that they were right; that any amount of alcohol in our system would cause a forced disability. I tempered my drinking somewhat but I couldn’t resist the levity I knew we were both experiencing.

When you were the size of a watermelon enveloping my heart, I asked my sister what she hoped for you and we continue to have this conversation even today as you grew from supine to lateral to linear to erect.

Me: what do you think he’ll be like?

Sister: amazing.

Me: what if he’s stupid?

Sister: we will love him.

Me: what if he has buck teeth?

Sister: we will love him.

Me: what if he’s a monster?

Sister: we will love him.

We will love you forever, and that is the ever after of love—adding, never subtracting.