Birth Day

Here’s the thing about being pregnant: you just don’t know. Forty weeks, give or take a few (generally), is a long time to wonder, who’s this little baby, anyway?

When my first daughter was born — after a long labor that eventually terminated in a caesarian — the obstetrician held her up in his gloved hands. My first reaction was immediate familiarity: I knew this baby. And that was just the beginning of World with Molly.

From the beginning — with birth’s blood — raising kids often seems like surprise after surprise: oh, you can nurse? you can walk? you can ride a bicycle? make me laugh? make me stay awake all night, worrying about you?

If parenting has taught me one thing, it’s how precious little I know — save, perhaps, the world is unimaginable without our kids.

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.

— James Joyce, Portrait of an Artist

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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