On Beginning To Be A Mother
June 01, 2008
I've been a mother for 38 years, as of last Thursday. That's not an unusual accomplishment. But I am astonished by how clearly I recall the details of the last few days of May,1970.
It was a very hot May, and it was hard to make my huge body do much. Back then, women didn't quit work until the first labor pain. I remember thinking that I had this baby inside me, and I would soon hold my child in my arms. But except for learning how to breathe through labor in Lamaze classes, I didn't know much about what would happen in between.
So in the afternoon of May 28, 1970 when I was standing in line at the S&H Green Stamp Redemption Center (remember those?), to pick up a new iron, the pressure in my belly didn't seem alarming. I pretty much ignored it. That evening we ate a big steak dinner (a bad idea that I did not repeat before the delivery of our next child), and we finally decided about 9:00 pm that these pains might be labor.
We arrived at the hospital at 10:00 pm for what turned out to be a very long and painful night. At 7:30 the next morning I held my now 38-year old son in my arms.
It could have been yesterday.
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