Dream Child

Your home was once just under my heart. We lived as one, nourished by the same blood and food and oxygen. In time I felt your life fluttering within me, a tiny butterfly anxiously awaiting your turn on the meadow.

I passed the long months of waiting by dreaming of you, wondering how I would divide my love again, guessing what your looks would show, thinking of special names for you, preparing for your arrival, feeling self-conscious about the way your growth affected my appearance.

My due date came and went. Each morning thereafter I woke with the same thought, “Maybe today. Maybe by evening, you’ll be here beside me, nursing contentedly.” After several days, labor was induced. Contractions began, increasing in frequency and intensity as the hours passed. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth, don’t push yet, all the while the pains came faster and harder. At last you crowned and I pushed: again, again, again, then it was over. Exhaustion, relief.

You hadn’t cried or sputtered to announce your arrival before you were whisked out of my sight. In my peripheral vision I glimpsed a tiny gray something covered with the yellow curds of afterbirth. I was left to wonder while they ran their tests. The volcano within erupted; fear flowed and burnt like lava.

An eternity later they returned with feeble meaningless words of apology. Then I saw your frailness in the glaring light and knew my love and labor had been fruitless: I had delivered but my dream was stillborn. Friends and family were sympathetic, supported, but disconcerted. What words of comfort could they, or anyone, give?

I lay awake at night, unable to avoid the questions which ask themselves over and over again: Was it just not meant to be? Why? Was I being punished? Was I unworthy? I only wanted to love and devote myself to you, but my dream did not come true – Why?

I am glad for what little time we had, grateful for the hopes you inspired, but disappointed. I shared your life for only a few months – I wanted years. I must go on without you, trusting time to heal as it passes. Until then, I fight the rest I need, not daring to sleep, afraid of dreaming again.

By Kerry Vincent (1987), published in various magazines/newspapers

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One Response to “Dream Child”

  1. Thalia/Valerie Says:

    Kerry, this is so beautifully expressed and so straight to the heart. Thank you for sharing.

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