In Media Res

Sonya Huber submitted this piece for Mama, Ph.D., and I poached it for Literary Mama. Here’s just a taste:

I lose myself in my work, then I worry that I’ve been cheating: have I somehow made myself un-pregnant, broken the shallow membrane between my hopes and the multiple worlds in my head? If I stop thinking about the baby, does it die? If I leave my body for lines of text, who reminds the baby’s cells to divide, and who keeps it from getting lonely?

It’s week sixteen. Happy sweet sixteen, goat-baby. I promise I’ll stop calling you goat when we find out next month what you are. Goat-baby, I love you so much, but I’m glad you’re not here yet. Rather than counting down the weeks, I am banking against them, hoping for the full forty.

In the coffee shop, I met with an accomplished writer who’s also the mother of an eight-year-old. “Look, you can do it,” she said as she glanced down at her watch, timing the minutes until she had to go pick up her daughter. “Just make sure you have a draft of the book done before the baby comes. You think you’ll have time afterward, people always say, ‘Oh, I’ll write when the baby sleeps,’ but that’s bullshit. You’re going to be sleeping or staring at the baby. So get to work and have the most productive summer of your life.”

When friends ask me how I’m doing, I am honest only if I know them well. I say, “I’m panicked. I haven’t ever had this kind of a deadline before.” To one friend who is also a writer thinking about getting pregnant this year, I say, “You know, it feels like somehow December 2 is the date I’m going to die.” Then the disclaimers: “I mean, I know that’s sick, and of course, I don’t really think that…”

She nods. “I know exactly what you mean. It’s like, goodbye to everything.”

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