Sunday, January 3, 2010

maternal guilt

My womb swells.

Not with new life -- no, my cells wrung out the last of that birth blood (for the third time) months ago now.

I am heavy not with child, but with a special brand of guilt nursed by mothers everywhere.

Or maybe it's just me.

It's the guilt whispers, you should be doing more, then  nags, you're doing it wrong. It's the guilt that yokes me to the dishes then pushes me to spend more time playing with the kids. It's the guilt that tags along whenever I leave the house alone and berates me for feeling anything less than joy in my children's presence.

It's a guilt self-imposed, but I don't remember swallowing that particular watermelon seed.

If this guilt weighs on me now, when my children are very young, how much heavier will I feel as their lives unfold? Will my mind always trace their missteps back to my mothering?

I crave the lightness of a newly emptied womb.

I long to leave a legacy of confidence.

I want my daughters to learn to live in the present, explore the edges of their limits, and step with grace across those borders.

When the Voice of Guilt whispers in their ears, I want to teach them to bellow their replies. To use choice words if they have to.

Because -- fuck it-- life is too short to walk weighted down. We were born to soar.