11 months ago


Selected Writings & Artwork by Harriett Copeland Lillard

Rocks in my Laundry

Rocks in my Laundry Basket - Nesting counter packed tightly in her polyethylene shroud with a sign poked in her naked breast, saying “Excellent for baking, 99cents/lb”, that I don’t feel grief at the death of a kindred spirit. I never buy them. I always buy fryers. Fortunately for the sanity of all concerned, especially husbands and already existent children, this ethereal, other-worldly state of mind begins to change. Almost overnight, interiorization becomes exteriorization. I usually experienced this at about six and a half months. The exterior appearance of the body has become so absurdly ridiculous and the sheer physical effort of living so laborious, that metaphysical thoughts of cosmic immortality shrink into non-existence. That extra life within constantly pounds the backbone, steps on the bladder, kicks the lungs, and hiccups in the middle of the night. Reality reasserts itself, and the whole thrust of living becomes centered on the prospect of a speedy delivery – hopefully a few weeks early. One begins a process of disassociation from the child within, which goes a long way towards relieving the trepidation attendant to the first pangs of labor. Every morning brings a fresh, anxious examination of that swollen body (which must belong to me since I somehow continue to function within it) for new stretch marks, liver spots, and other scars of pregnancy that will follow me to the grave and eliminate forever visions of myself in a bikini. The sweet, warm, secretive feelings of those early months have become the heavy reality of constant discomfort and the daily frustration of trying to get ones shoes on. The glamour and excitement have faded and each day ends with the question, “How much longer?” It is more a prayer than a question. But, bear in mind, all of this is nature’s way of making you so anxious to get it over with that you wear your track shoes to the delivery room. I have never, before or since, concentrated with such single-minded intensity on the job at hand. Pain is no object, and soon forgotten, in the life-or-death struggle to expel the baby. ˜ 51

{ 2 } Birthing the Babies 52