by Lanie Dubois
A story from the eyes of a child that died during birth.
|Mommy, I’m the bloody bundle at your feet. Mommy, I died today…
You gave birth to me an hour ago on the floral carpet in the living room. You shook and screamed and convulsed with pain and then I came out. I was born but I wasn’t alive.
Imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t died today…
Imagine me at six years old refusing to go to school. My first day at school and imagine me crying, hugging you closely and refusing to let go because I’m scared of failure. I’m scared that no one will like me.
Imagine me at ten years old going to my first party. You help me dress in my prettiest outfit; my purple skirt and the black shirt with the stars that you bought me because you said it reminded you of my eyes. I smile at you and walk confidently out of the door.
Imagine me at thirteen, getting my first period. I’m scared of the blood and the consequences of becoming a woman. You comfort me and tell me the beauty of becoming a woman is mixed with the pain of it. You tell me that it’s normal and make me lie down on the couch with a bowl of chocolate, watching a romantic movie.
Imagine me at sixteen, going on my first date and getting my first kiss. You complement me on my makeup and kiss me as if to bless me with good fortune. At midnight I come home, delirious with happiness and excitement and you ask me to describe what happened. We gossip all night and you tell me about your own teenage experiences.
Imagine me at nineteen going to university. We pack a few suitcases each week because I’m going to live at the dorm. We shop almost every day preparing for the new phase of my life. You help me choose my courses and we argue a little over my decision to become a painter. You support my decision but worry whether I’ll be able to make it in the real world.
Imagine me at twenty four getting married. You help me pick a beautiful white dress and you make dinner for my future husband and me. You give me grandmother’s old diamond ring that has been passed in the family from generation to generation. You tell me that arguments are part of love and that you’ll always be there for me. You cry when I kiss him and I cry because I see you cry.
Imagine me at twenty nine, having my first baby. I sweat as I’m lying on the hospital bed, begging God to stop the pain in my stomach. My husband holds my hand but I call for my mommy. You stand there looking at me with a dreamy expression while holding my hand. When I finally give birth and hold my baby daughter in my hands, I name her after you and the cycle is complete.
Imagine my life filled with pain, hate and anxiety but it is also filled with love, happiness and trust. Imagine me alive…
Do you see mommy? Daddy came home today and he grabbed your hair because you were sleeping instead of making dinner. He slapped your beautiful cheeks, awaking you from blissful dreams. He punched you and your lip started bleeding and one of your teeth fell on the floor from the impact. He threw you on the bed and started shaking you, demanding an answer. You cried and pleaded him to stop because you knew he was harming you, he was harming your baby. You still loved him even when he started kicking you in the stomach where I lay entrenched in my fake safety net. You still adored him even when you felt the life inside your womb slip away. You still wanted to kiss him, even when you knew that I was dead.
You gave birth to me and I slipped away from your cord that gave life to me for five months. I fell out of your womb like a rotten apple or a butterfly before its time. You looked at the bloody bundle beside your feet and you touched me and then you attempted to breathe into my face with the naïve assumption that that notion will make me alive again. It didn’t… I’m still dead…
I forgive you mommy for loving a man who abused you. I forgive you mommy for not running away. I forgive you for giving birth to dead baby. I forgive you for putting your marriage before your life and my own. Just think mommy, what could have been if I wasn’t the bloody bundle at your feet? If I was alive?