Photographs are supposed to be reproductions of reality, but you can't see the state of my heart in this shot. The way my brain is trying to buffer her birth, her expected-yet-startling existence in my world.
She will look at this cute mother-daughter snap in years to come, but she won’t see any of this. It's there, though, hiding beside the leftover Christmas bow in her hair, lurking underneath the neon-yellow surface of her onesie.
I see my old trouser-style jeans. My favourite pair, before all the wear and tear. They were a size 8. Single-digit self-approval. They probably hung on me a bit, too, after I unintentionally lost 35 pounds of pregnancy weight in a month. What I wouldn’t give for that happen again, for no reason. Hormones, are you listening?
I remember my sister-in-law posting that I looked like you cool, New York hipster mom. She couldn’t see the storm, but it wasn’t all gloom. I probably requested the photo be taken, to have a memento of my motherly pride. I was good at hiding my pain, yes, but glimmers of genuine joy are also visible in that snaggletooth smile.
My hair looks more dramatically parted than usual. I didn't have the dreaded post-partum shed that many women experience after giving birth, but it must have thinned enough for me so style it more self-consciously.
Something else you can’t see? I haven't peed for about eight hours. My habitually oily skin is also super-dry and flaky—for the first time in forever. I am so dehydrated from the battle of breastfeeding that I am not taking proper care of myself.
Photography is not the truth, but its traces are there if you study the image long enough. There is no sound, no movement to distract the eye. It's just a silent record of life, a snapshot of time, ever galloping on to the next flash.
Contrast is what makes life interesting. What we see versus what's really happening.
The surface smile versus the inner thoughts. Hope and despair, both are there.
I am so happy to be out.
Do we have to go back to that one-bedroom apartment that feels like a prison?
Can't I stay here at my childhood home until I adjust to all this madness?
You’re never too old to want your mother.
I want her now.
When does it get better?