Sunday, August 22, 2010

The end of the first chapter

I am all written out. We're well into the job of editing now, Dad and I. Working to my direction, he has taken on the first 6,000 words (or three chapters) and I am mindful of not over-burdening him. This is sensitive subject matter for a father to read, let alone dissect to the enth degree.

I remain so grateful and respectful of this time he is giving the 'project'. He has been under the pump with other work, as well as the gruelling task of putting his property on the market now that they are settled in the new place - a whole lot of elbow grease has had to go into the old place and I am relieved he is finally past that now. He looks so old these days! And I can see now (during a rare, impromptu visit he made by train last Friday - he lives a couple of hours away) that he has become invested in this book. It honestly takes a lot to impress my father.... where words formed into a story are concerned, amongst other studious things. So I am a little humbled by that, if nothing else.

Before I step away from the computer and leave this manuscript in peace for another few days, I want to share the final paragraph of the first chapter. Without giving too much away, the book begins in a crisis moment and provides a chance for a bit of reflection of my journey to parenthood.

This is the end of that chapter. I'd be grateful to know what you think - whether it would entice you to turn the page, whether it's too cryptic, what feelings it conjures... I realise it's a bit difficult to do without having the whole chapter to read, but hopefully you'll catch its drift.

For better or worse (it's the unedited version!), here it is:

   Over the next several days, I cried, I ate and drank a bit too much, I mothered myself the only way I knew how. But I felt different. So much had changed since the last time I had been given pathology results for a baby of Steve’s and mine that would never come into existence. The experience this time allowed me to retrospectively look at my internal reasoning and reactions, using them as a chance to learn even more about myself and noting the difference in sympathy we received now from those around us when they learned of our latest loss. I was also surprised by how much more it seemed to physically take out of my body – as if I was at a critical mass point of succumbing to the toll these miscarriages were really taking on me. I could not bounce back like I once used to and this time, I was forced into bed for a spell. After all, almost a decade had passed since our first loss. I was neither as young nor as healthy as I had been in my twenties.
   It used to be so different. Was I relieved now that the emotions a miscarriage evoked in me were less extreme, perhaps not quite so raw or crucial because I didn’t have every hope pinned on this tiny life? Did I have anything left in me to try and bring another child into existence one day? Had this, therefore, been Steve’s and my last remaining chance to bring another baby into the world? I didn’t know. But I wondered where I found all my resilience.
   The answer was actually to be found in a number of different places, including from deep within. And as I recounted my child-bearing life’s journey, I found with great relief that I was thankful for every single, solitary, sad and sorry, warm and fuzzy one of them.

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