38). The only child is automatically stigmatized.
“Call, call,” she says. I want to tell her it’s a six-hour difference, there’s no way we can talk now—and yet I know I have to give that up too. Let her reinvent her world, resolve its logic in the way she needs.
Essays on Cost, Buchanan and Thirlby, ed.
If I can just get out of the hospital with some pumping initiated, I will be free to do as much pumping at home, at the office, and in the car as I like, with no one to judge me except the occasional female acquaintance or relative. I won’t have to answer the phone when the nice lactation consultant makes her several follow-up calls in the week after I return home. I can sit at the kitchen table with two-year-old in high chair, a two-day-old in her bassinet, and a breast pump churning at my chest as the consultant’s voice fills the answering machine. I can surround myself with the maternal trinity of child, baby, and breast pump.
Our son is now three. Our daughter was born a year ago. She was nine days late, and we spent those tedious nights making more than a hundred jars of jam. We still have most of them.
Thus onlychildren are caught in a dilemma.
I have always felt in some way that my worry would protect me from really bad things ever happening. But then it didn’t. There was no heartbeat.
The only child breaks down the positions in birthorder.
Then there are the friends who give the pitch-perfect response like the one who wraps me in a hug and says, “What the fuck?” Every reaction either passes the test or feels like an assault.
This goes along with thedefinition of the word rivalry itself.
Word gets around quickly. I am too raw and sensitive to face people. I despise the ones who don’t say anything, too afraid and uncomfortable to acknowledge what happened. Others say things so thoughtless and stupid like, “Don’t you wish the hospital would have just taken care of it?” I don’t even ask what that means.
All children have to extend outside of their natural tendencies.
I watch my younger daughter as she sleeps, with her favorite stuffed animals—horse and bear-bear—standing guard on either side of her. Then I imagine another trip to the cemetery. The panic subsides and she is once again a peaceful, happy, sleeping child and I am her mother again and not some crazed lunatic.
Natural introverts need to interact to buildrelationships.
The cemetery. The rabbi meets us there and fittingly, it is a cold, rainy day. He is wearing a worn yellow slicker. His voice is warm and gentle. The heavy-set man from the funeral home carries the tiny casket. We put a teddy bear inside and a note. We say goodbye.
Her only evidence comes from a study of Chinesefamilies.
She gives birth to a healthy baby girl six weeks later. It will take me several years, including the birth of a healthy second baby girl of my own, to really acknowledge my niece—to embrace and not see the shadow of what we lost.