in secret, between the shadow and the soul;

June 29th, 2007 · 15 comments

When _____ and I had been married for about two years we decided, without talking about it very much, to see if we could have a baby. I knew that _____ was not at all optimistic about our chances of having a baby and I was not asking him or myself why this might be […] I was simply not thinking about a lot of important stuff because I was completely drunk with the notion of a baby: a baby that looked sort of like _____, black hair and those intense eyes and maybe very pale like me and smelled like milk and talcum powder and skin, a sort of dumpling baby, gurgling and laughing at everyday stuff, a monkey baby, a small cooing sort of baby. I would dream about babies. In my dreams I would climb a tree and find a very small shoe in a nest; I would suddenly discover that the cat/book/sandwich I thought I was holding was really a baby …
I suddenly began to see babies everywhere; a sneezing red-haired girl in a sunbonnet at the A&P; a tiny staring Chinese boy, son of the owners, in the Golden Wok; a sleeping almost bald baby at a Batman movie. In a fitting room in a JC Penny a very trusting woman actually let me hold her three-month-old daughter; it was all I could do to continue sitting in that pink-beige vinyl chair and not spring up and run madly away hugging that tiny soft being to my breasts.
My body wanted a baby. I felt empty and I wanted to be full.

{ 15 Responses to in secret, between the shadow and the soul; }

  • Ta says:

    (And I wanted _____ to be in this child, so that when he was gone he wouldn’t be entirely gone, there would be a bit of him with me . . . insurance, in case of fire, flood, act of God.)

  • vghoul says:

    See, I see babies everywhichwhere and I have exactly the opposite psychological reaction. It seems profoundly tragic that we as a species have dominated our environment to the point of… squeezing out… diminishing returns &opportunities &legitimate social roles to fill… I understand being in love and have felt the weird trickery of such feelings as the author describes here encroaching upon my higher faculties, but I can’t imagine really wanting, except on the level of those occasional delirious fantasies that instinct forces upon one, to overextend the species any more than it already has been. I can’t imagine looking at the world around me and thinking YES. WHAT WE NEED IS MORE PEOPLE. MORE PEOPLE TO INHABIT THE SAME SPACE AND NEED THE SAME THINGS. I just cringe inwardly at the self-indulgent tragedy of it. Therefore, any legacy I leave must live only through my words and actions.

    I am always happy to see more cats, though.

  • flourishing says:

    I love that book. Really & truly.

  • singthebones says:

    i think i need to read this book. yes.

  • this finds all my aching places.

  • ilwarden says:

    My body wanted a baby. I felt empty and I wanted to be full.

    It is interesting — this ache.
    The male body never feels — can never feel — empty in that way.
    (The only bodily hollowness we’ll ever feel is pedantic hunger.)
    And yet i believe — we feel the emptiness of the heart as keenly as this, if not more so.
    It is that throbbing ache that draws us to fill ourselves up with that which is female.
    We never know symbiosis with any other living thing – though we desperately wish to.
    We are forever isolated to this one flesh, and this hollow heart.
    Ever empty.

  • exlibris says:

    how we keep following each other? almost makes me nervous! we aretwo separate people, yes? :)!

    what i mean is this: dear. dear. ta. i know.

    (so much so in secret. these entries only open to see for just hours!)

    • Ta says:

      just this mutual grasping of hands, here!

      (when you first posted it? that entry resonated so strongly, struck a hidden emotional chord. i could not even reply.)

      oh my god. i wish we could sit, mirrored together. wine & confessions. xoxo.

  • vghoul says:

    Honestly, it’s as much about compassion for me as it is about personal discomfort, y’know?

  • Ta says:

    I’ve actually been called selfish before for not wanting children.

    now, i can’t imagine this. i’ve felt that i should wait for the reason that my time is so important to me, my alone-ness, my ability to do, for the most part, as i wish, when i wish. i would never label that as a selfish thing, but rather, responsible. sensible. honest.

    • vghoul says:

      I’ve heard the you’re selfish for not wanting children thing before as well. Not directed at myself, of course, but at female friends who are childfree. It’s more than a little absurd, like THINK OF THE CHILDREN… THE ONES WHO DON’T CURRENTLY EXIST / HOW WOULD U FEEL IF UR PARENTS DIDNOT HAEV U. Seems like an awfully strange way to think, presumptuously assigning “rights” and “needs” to imaginary people who obviously can’t have either by virtue of their nonexistence. Taking other human beings to task for privileging their own interests/values/whatever over the perceived interests of these Pretend Babies? So silly.

      Of course, I think the lack of logic involved is due to the fact that most people making such statements are doing so more as a justification of bias than as any kind of rational thinking. I mentioned above that it’s always women at whom this bullshit accusation gets directed. And I said “of course” because it seems obvious there’s a certain cultural element of IT IS UR DUTY AND DESTINY AS A WOMAN TO PROCREATE, YOU UPPITY BITCH in play. It’s the same mentality behind the ‘pre-pregnant‘ designation, etc. Blah.

  • northsea says:

    i begin to feel this way so much, lately. and everything takes on a riper tone because of it.

    and isn’t it strange, the way that this want can feel so small and secret, that we must sit late and half-drunk, and only whisper it? (perhaps it ought to be a celebration.) but sometimes the desire creeps upon me very early in the morning, wakened by light, when i am sleepful and alive and all body and dream. female, i suppose. and in these hypnagogic moments, imagination and dreamed sensation, it seems like the most perfect joy; a completeness.


  • I miss you so much, sparkling star.
    I pray you are well & soaring free.

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