Her head, matted with unwashed hair, smelled sweet and salty, like raisins, ocean air, thick dog fur, sweet-scented wood. I felt the weight of each inhale on my belly, her hard skull against my ribs. Imprinting every detail felt like an urgent matter. I implored myself to cherish, without distraction, this love in my arms, but my mind wandered. I couldn’t get past the fact that I was her mother and couldn’t protect her.
Marina Koestler Ruben
I take both kids to vote. We have to get to work and school, so we’re in line before 7 a.m. I tell my tired, cold five-year-old and tired, cold two-year-old that we are lucky we can exercise this Constitutional right. “It will be worth it,” I overpromise. “One day, you’ll tell your own kids how I woke you up early to vote. We’re voting for the first female president!”
Jessica Franke Carr
He wouldn’t even touch a crayon. Fine motor delay, you eventually learned, is just another common symptom of “being on the spectrum.” Everyone says early intervention is key, but it took you four years just to convince a doctor he had high-functioning autism, even though you knew since Day One because it was like looking into a mirror. A mirror that doesn’t make eye contact.
Everything on my body had loosened and fallen out of place. My hips still wobbled in their sockets when I walked, and my brain had literally shrunk (or so I’d heard on a radio show). I fiddled with the misshapen bun that flopped on the back of my head. In my round-the-clock effort to feed Connor, washing and sleeping had fallen to the wayside.
Meghan Moravcik Walbert
Pieces of BlueJay, memories of all the bedtime stories Mike read to him and the songs I sang to him vibrate through that room. The sign with his name still hangs on the back of the door. The star lamp we bought for him remains dim.
Polly Duff Kertis
I’d heard that all a baby needs is to know that it was wanted. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to fake it. I touched the ugly secret with the satisfaction of tonguing a toothache. I clung to it. I laughed about the surprising nature of the situation, self-deprecating, in a way that I hoped sounded charming. I felt like I’d failed as a mother before the baby was even born. What pressed back was the notion that I hadn’t even wanted to be a mother, yet.
We publish thoughtful pieces that take the experience of motherhood and use it as a jumping off point for exploring deeper issues of identity, relationship, family, politics, transformation, loss, and more. Have you written a compelling narrative with a fresh take on a common experience? Read more about submitting your work here.
Creative Nonfiction Archives