Gestation Revisited

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Death is felt the most by those still alive. Even when the unborn die. However fleeting, they existed. Even if only for you, inside of you. Nine months is too long to live with a living creature and not become attached – to form even a most fragile bond. Then at the end of the gestation period you expect life but find none.

As much time has passed as the gestation period lasted, but soft hued sepia memories never disappeared. Time passed and you consoled yourself with mind tricks. It was an accident anyway. You will try again. Time heals everything. And so forth continue the acceptable bits and phrases you indoctrinate yourself with, repeating each like a mantra until it is ingrained in your head. Perhaps next time you will actually believe it. Just keep telling yourself you don’t care and you never loved it because it wasn’t really alive, and you will eventually welcome it as truth.

You still pull out the box of sonograms, wistfully smiling as if you were looking at vacation pictures, and deep down you know they torment you, but sometimes you just don’t care because that was a slice of your life you cannot deny. And then you wish you didn’t have to. That’s when it starts again in your head; the questions, the self criticism and recrimination. How could a thing that never saw life still make you scream at night?

So you don’t sleep for fear of dreaming, you busy yourself senselessly with more activities than you can count until sufficient time has passed and surely you feel nothing anymore, but just before you are exhausted and ready to lay your body limp, you remove your clothes, exposing where it once lay only to choke on memories.

But your memories are incomplete – unlike other women who were free to experience, you only made it to the birthing stage. Chance encounters with a thrashing foot, or fluttering movement of… an arm? It was taken away before you got to hold it, and that too you tell yourself was for the best. How much worse would it have been otherwise?

But if it hadn’t died, and you were still holding it, how much better would it have been now?

Yet the stillborn presence that left you (all too early) will never know this. That is the problem with the dead… only the living are left to feel the pain.

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