Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Not What I Expected

I don't know of anything more earthbound and more spiritual than motherhood. Being a mother has taken every ounce of stamina, creativity, and self-control that I have. Mothering has been the most challenging and rewarding path of self-development I could've imagined. It has taught me to love and driven me to prayer––praise and supplication––more deeply than I ever could have imagined.

I am pleased to have a short story I Knew All Along included in this new anthology:

Not What I Expected:
The Unpredictable Road from Womanhood to Motherhood
Edited by Donya Currie Arias and Hildie S. Block

The newest publication for the 30-year-old Paycock Press brings together 80+ writers and artists who give you the road to motherhood, the one not expected — full of bumps, infertility, pregnancy loss and at the end of it all, perhaps, parenthood.

Not What I Expected features poetry, fiction, essays and artwork by a wide range of authors from first time in print to multi book award winners. Their work divides into chapters titled: Pregnant, Birth, Infertility in Progress, Becoming Mom, Lost Children, A Mother's Needs, Worry, After, and Lessons.

My story, I Knew All Along, appears in the Pregnant chapter. Here is a short excerpt:

I knew all along, but not really, that this baby I was carrying, this child growing large within me, kicking my ribs, shrinking my bladder, straining my back, wasn’t really mine. But I didn’t want to think about that because I was already so completely, thoroughly in love with this person who was coming.

I changed for this baby. Before I even met him, or her. I swallowed vitamins the size of dachshunds and drank three glasses of milk––which I hate––every day. I gave up champagne at wedding receptions, and all my friends were getting married. I gave up morning coffee, which wasn’t a pretty sight. I gave up my afternoon Diet Coke, anything with caffeine, even chocolate. Chinese food too, after the kid spent a night doing MSG induced in-utero flips.

The only thing I gave up for Jeff when we got married was my apartment, half a block from the railroad tracks plagued by shrieking trains, vomit colored shag carpet and too little closet space. This was way different. I didn’t want to think about how this kid wasn’t really mine.

Sure it was mine to incubate, birth, breastfeed, diaper, drive to soccer practice, swim lessons and the orthodontist. Mine to rock during months of colic. Mine to teach about popping weasels and teapots stout. Mine to explain about the birds, the bees, the poison oak, nocturnal emissions, manual transmissions, and college admissions. Okay, well, I’d let Jeff handle some of that. Mine to pay for school pictures, summer camp, prom wear and tuition. But not mine to keep.

And I didn’t want to know this. Because I knew it would stab my heart and make me want to squeeze the baby, once it was born, against my chest so tightly that neither one of us could breathe.
This is how it happened. And I suppose you could say that because I was eight and a half months pregnant, it was simply a case of raging hormones. You could say that, and under other circumstances, I’d be the first to agree.

I hope you'll take a look at Not What I Expected.

You can "Search Inside" at Amazon
orders are being taken
there and at the publisher (spend a few extra $'s to support the small press if you can)
Paycock Books

Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times said, "A collection that is by turns heartening and harrowing, insightful and irreverent but, page after page, always honest. ... The best thing you can say about book on birth? It delivers. And this one does."

Grace Cavalieri of Poet and Poem called it a "MASTERWORK"

Jeanne Marie Laskas of the Washington Post said it's "GORGEOUS"

What will you say?

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