Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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When you see your first ultrasound, you'll think your son resembles a snowflake against a dark window. You'll run your hands over your stomach and then sense an enigma sprouting limbs and swishing his tail through your fluid. Shed your skin and begin to grow; you're growing. You're a soul surrounding another soul. He's deeper inside you than his father had ever been.
When your water breaks, you'll think the fluid looks like strawberry lemonade, in the white carpet around your feet. The pain will feel like a menstrual cramp. Drive yourself to the hospital and check into the maternity ward you toured on your own last week. Lying in a bed, wearing a loose cotton gown you pulled on backwards, watch "Married With Children" while realizing the pain is far worse than a menstrual cramp. You'll remember how you told your baby's father to "get out" the night he said he didn't want a baby or you. A nurse will tell you it's time to push, and you'll scream because it hurts too much, pushing him out.

Now that he's older, you can let yourself sink in the mud a little, so long as you're only playing. Hold the worms he gives you. Dangle from a thread like a spider. Understand your son's going to pull the legs off a bug to see what happens. So talk about dead. Explain evolution and Jesus. He'll use marker on the back of your tee shirts and draw Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Tell him his father's name, what he looks like, where he lives. Say his father isn't there because he isn't a good father, but he's not a bad man. Holding your son's hand outside your apartment, follow a line of ants and tell him no matter what you keep going.

Alana Noel Voth is a single mom who lives in Oregon with her ten-year-old son, two cats, one dog, and several freshwater fish. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon in 2004. Alana’s essay, “Where’s My Brown? Notes from A Single White Mother Raising A Biracial Son” appeared in the Slow Trains Literary Journal. Her fiction has also appeared in The Big Stupid Review, Best American Erotica 2005, and Best Gay Erotica 2007. Read more of Alana’s writing at her blog.

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