Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I Hate Being a Mother

By Brenna Richart

I hate being a mother.
When I saw the plus sign in the window of the pregnancy test I started laughing.
Of course this is a mistake
was my first thought.
I’m pro choice, god damnit!
was my second thought.
I called Planned Parenthood to schedule my abortion
and I started to cry when the woman on the line told me what the procedure entailed.
I made the decision in less than five minutes.

I was going to become a mother.

My mother told me
“you are too young to have a baby,
but getting an abortion is a sin.”
My brother told me
“you better stop smoking pot.”
My father’s silent disappointment washed over me like rain.
My friends guessed before I even told them I was pregnant,
because of course I would be the one to have a baby
six months after graduating high school.

Already I hated being a mother.

I became a mom
because I knew I would be better than the one I had.
I became a mom
because I believed I could do a damn good job.

I became a mom
because it felt wrong not to.
But most of all,
I became a mom
because I loved that tiny little embryo right from the start.

When I woke up from my c-section,
I heard two nurses talking about how sad it was I was such a young mom.
“That poor child,”
they said.
I get the worst looks at the grocery store.
Someone asked me if I was old enough to have a child.
As if that’s a normal thing to ask someone.
At the park other mothers pretend like they don’t see me.
At my son’s school I watch as people look me up and down,
as if they are wondering how I came to exist in their snobby, iPad centered world.
Another mother said to me
“I know you like to do what you love,
but you need to start making real money.”
“Take a business class,”
she said,
“for your son,”
she said.
As if my entire world doesn’t revolve around my son already.

I hate being a mother.

I wake up at 7 and have to bribe my son to get out of bed.
He argues with me about what he wants for breakfast,
and points out how his dad makes better eggs than I do.
He argues with me about what he wants to wear that day,
how life just isn’t fair.
He whines about having to get his insulin shots,
He tells me you poked me too long…
He tells me, you never let me do anything…
He tells me
“I miss my dad.”
He gets on his bus at 8:04

I hate being a mother.

I get on my bus at 8:19.
I forgot my water bottle.
I forgot my gym shoes.
I forgot my textbook that fell to the floor in my exhaustion the night before.
I get to class disheveled and pissed off.
My classmates complain they are hung over.
They didn’t do their homework.
They are overwhelmed and
have to go to work after school.
I smile and listen.
The nurse calls me and tells me my son’s blood sugar is high,
that he is misbehaving.
My stomach churns with every word I hear.

I hate being a mother.

I get home at 2:45.
I pee and let the dog out.
I soak in the silence
and run my hands under cold water
as I breath in the ten sweet minutes of peace.
My phone goes off alerting me that my son’s bus is coming.
He had a bad day.
He hates doing homework.
He’d rather play at the park.
So would I.

But alas, we have to work on sight words.
Lllllike, ttttto, ddddo,
Watching him struggle to read is like
seeing your mother cry for the first time.

I hate being a mother.

I do my homework while he plays with his Legos.
My son tells me he misses me.
I tell him five more minutes.
I cook dinner while he watches Netflix.
I give insulin
and he cries and tells me he just wants to eat without shots,
like other kids.
He says,
“I wish I was normal.”
I say,
“Normal fucking sucks, man. But I hate this disease too.”
I hold him while he cries,
clinging to my pain and absorbing all of his.

I fucking hate being a mother.

We cuddle for bit and then bedtime comes too soon,
or not soon enough.
I floss his teeth, and his leftover food lands on my cheek.
He laughs, I laugh, we laugh.
We brush our teeth, and wash our faces.
I read him two stories and sing him two songs.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey,”
He asks for more books,
more songs and I say,
“Hell no, bro!”
He says,
“You never let me do anything!”
I say,
“I love you, stinker.”

I hate being a mother.

I kiss him goodnight and take my dog for a walk.
He is awake when I get back,
he says he’s thirsty,
he says his legs hurt,
he says his blood sugar is low.
He is lying.
I tell him to get his ass in bed or else.

I crumble on the couch.
I finish my homework,
and make his lunch, carbs counted, note written,
reminding him to be respectful
and kind to everyone he encounters.
I put away the leftovers,
eating the tofu and broccoli as I go.
I check his blood glucose while he sleeps;
he wakes up and screams at me.

I hate being a mother.

I am expected to love this job.
I am supposed to smile,
smile and
fucking smile some more.
I am supposed to stay optimistic, remain calm and have hope.
Even when my heart has been broken,
my dog has cancer and
my cat died six months ago.
I am supposed to stay optimistic,
even though I am alone every day,
even though I don’t know how to relax anymore,
even though I don’t know if rent and bills will be paid this month,
or if I will be sacrificing food and gas this week.
I am supposed to remain optimistic,
even when my friends don’t want to hang out
because I am stressed and exhausted all the time.
I am supposed to remain optimistic
when I am afraid my son will die from his chronic disease,
because,
“at least he’s alive,”
right?
As a woman,
doing it all and
remaining optimistic
is
expected
of
you.

My son is six.
Yesterday I asked him if I looked okay before we left the house.
He said,
“you’re cute and fun and I like how your head goes well with your body.”
He tells me that I am his favorite person,
that he loves me the most in all the world.
The feeling is mutual.
I love this boy.
I love the way his lips pucker when he sleeps,
and the way his eyes light up when he smiles.
I love the way he draws a balloon in each stick figures’ hand,
and the way he crawls into my lap and tells me,
“It’s okay mom,”
on the occasion I let my pain slip through my eyes.
I love the way he wraps his tiny arms around my neck.
I love every single particle that makes up my son.
And if I had the chance to turn back time,
I wouldn’t change a god damn thing.

But I hate being a mother.


This poem was first published by Hip Mama.

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