A loved one who works at a Crisis Pregnancy Center sends me a small gift upon the news of my pregnancy. Once outside the Post Office, I eagerly open the padded envelope and lift out this. What is this?
A tiny plastic fetus.
This is my third pregnancy in less than two years. The previous two ended in miscarriage. One at the 6 week mark. The other at the end of the first trimester. Would that baby have been about this size?
She came out intact. Inside the sac. I still feel her between my labia as the midwife extracts her from my cervix. She is placed in a specimen dish and taken away.
This plastic fetus also reminds me of the abortions I had at 16, and how I question whether or not I am mother material because of them.
When I conceive my second son, I buy my own plastic fetus. But this one is different. The baby is inside a mother’s body. In fluid. Protected. A part. Not apart.
A film clip on Facebook brings this into greater relief. I watch again and again. Transfixed. At first I’m not sure what it is that captivates me…
The animated birth is seen from above. The body of the mother transparent.
That’s it, I realize, it’s the mother’s body that moves me.
Her breasts. Her rib cage. Her spine. Her pelvis. Her cervix. Her splayed thighs. Her buttocks.
A dynamic intimacy.
I know that intimacy from the inside.
I felt it move in me like a train gliding a cantaloupe against my rectum and through my vagina.
I don’t remember the soothing music.
I remember the searing.
His suckling at my breast.