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At a Baby Shower
Words by Jenna Neece
Image by Fabrice Poussin
There the mom is, glowing, as the horrible cliché goes.
Cupcakes and people, smiling faces, but thank God no
stupid party games where I must pretend to care.
My first shower since I lost my baby--
All I can think about is how my stomach
would be beginning to grow round by now.
The thoughts are spurting out my ears, swirling round
her body and stomach like bees swarming honey.
My musings are almost angry, despite the inappropriateness.
There was nothing I could do. I couldn't help my little bit,
I'd be out of my first trimester, nearing the end
of my nauseous phase, looking forward to knowing the sex,
but instead, I’m watching a woman I barely know
rub her belly, and I feel so empty, angry for being forced
to be here for someone I work with, but don’t know
or give a damn about her or her belly full of baby.
My smile is artificial feeling on my face
like the sweetener in the diet coke she sets there drinking
even though we all know it’s bad for her baby.
This woman talks of feeling lonely, but I’m alone.
She can't be right now. She's always with child.
She deserves this baby more than I would
I didn't even want to be until I wasn't…
She speaks of her excitement, of seeing her
baby boy for the first time, and it now it’s hitting me:
I won't ever get to meet my baby, see his or her face.
No, instead I get to go home and drink fancy wine,
but no three a.m. feedings.
What the hell am I complaining about?
No one wants those moments when the baby wakes you up
for the fifth time and all you want is sleep, but instead
you get vomit and shit in your once clean hair and wailing.
Yet, a small part of me knows I feel different,
knows why I didn't want to go, why I’m avoiding being near her,
why I feel the need to hug her and comfort her before I leave.
I don't hate her, I just know that I want to be her,
not now, but maybe later, and until my body failed me,
I never considered that the doctors and the medical books
might be right, and that I will never be her.