On Breasts and Babies
Today, walking down the hall at the Kennestone Women's Center, on my way to get my mammogram, I was afraid. I was afraid because it has been two years since my last one, and I'm supposed to get two a year. So I was scared because this is another way I fail my children. I fail them by not taking care of myself, by testing fate, by setting them up for loss. I was scared and walking down the hall and feeling like a terrible mother, and I passed the Lactation Center, where, through a window, I could see a nurse bent over an infant, weighing and measuring. There was an infant, and I, still bleeding, and feeling a little hormonal and weepy, started crying. I cried for the few periods I have left, for the fewer and farther between, for all the babies I could have had to then fail by not taking better care. I cried out of fear and loss and love. I cried for my breasts and all the hard work they did. I cried for that baby and for the baby's mom, dragging into the Lactation Center, trying to do that unnaturally difficult natural thing. I cried for her failure or her triumph. I cried for my girls and the babies they will one day have and for their breasts, and because their mother is such a failure. I cried for their unborn brothers and sisters, the ones it is almost too late to have. I cried because I was afraid.
And then I went in and got the damned mammogram.