Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Planned Child

by Sharon Olds

"I hated the fact that they had planned me,
she had taken a cardboard out of his shirt from the laundry
as if sliding the backbone up out of his body,
and made a chart of the month and put
her temperature on it, rising and falling,
to know the day to make me --
I would have liked to have been conceived in heat,
in haste, by mistake, in love, in sex,
not on cardboard, the little x on the rising line that did not fall again.

But when a friend was pouring wine
and said that I seem to have been a child who had been wanted,
I took the wine against my lips
as if my mouth were moving along
that valved wall in my mother's body, she was
bearing down, and then breathing from the mask, and then
bearing down, pressing me out into
the world that was not enough for her without me in it,
not the moon, the sun, Orion cartwheeling across the dark,
not the earth, the sea --
none of it was enough,
for her, without me."

This is a poem I found towards the end of my pregnancy with the LGBB. It almost choked with its realism at the time. And it said for me what I had been trying to decipher for myself: that a child so planned, so yearned for, whom I tried to "catch" so often.... was made into reality because our world was not enough for me without her in it.

I can hear that child right now, exclaiming to the descant recorder she fell asleep holding last night (she currently has a penchant for musical instruments, perfecting her baseball and golf swings on the Wii and Chuggington and Waybalu). And without her in my life, I would surely have been tipped over the edge a long, long time ago. She is the salve that soothed my aching, raging heart back then. I would never have come as far in my healing as I have, not without her.

I don't feel quite as emotional now as I used to when I read this poem now - a sign I am either lost to cynicism or have come a fair way in my recuperation of our troubled conception journey. I like to think it's the latter, at least for the most part.

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