she looks at me for help and i have nothing to offer. those eyes that fear she’ll be abandoned if i leave the room. those ears that perk up for lulls of comfort.
i lie down next to her, rubbing her head, rubbing her ears, rubbing her belly. i whisper to her. and in doing so, i hear her breathing grow heavy. i feel the movement of life inside of her.
i am left in wonder.
my puppy, my baby, my little girl is pregnant and due any day. she walks heavy. she moves with unease. she tires easily. and more than ever, she is in want of company. in her situation, nothing could be worse than being alone.
i watch, and i wonder.
my mother has taken to new heights of worries. my back used to hurt, i don’t know where it hurts on her, she says, but I would know nothing of experiencing pregnancy. or the pains of carrying a child. or the upcoming imminent pain of delivering babies.
my mother does.
it hurts like you wouldn’t believe. when i was in labor with you there were a few of us women. euta le kasto mukh chhareko. she laughs over the potty mouth of a laboring soon-to-be-mother. but after you have your child…the pain is nothing.
no matter what, my mother says looking to our dog, us female always suffer. And she tells me that women are stronger. that there is so much more we bear. look at me. she says. and i try. she tells me to strengthen myself, she tells me to be kind, to offer friendship, to be loving.
boyfriends are boyfriends, you’ll love many times. but you must be strong when you decide to have a husband. i try to listen to her as i cry into her embrace. as i cry from the persisting pain in my heart. as i cry explaining his confusion. without saying it, she knows. i try to understand the pains she has endured. the pains of a woman–physical and otherwise.
look at me, she repeats. and she reminds me of her story. her struggles. her pains. her marriage. look at where your father and i are now, she says. and i know she’s right. she is, after all, Ama. sacred mother, mother of mine, mother of many, mother of all.
as i gather my things to leave, she complains, it’s raining and cold, i wish you’d just stay here until the puppies are born. i’ll come tomorrow, i tell her. i’ll come tomorrow and stay until the puppies are born. as i pick up my bags i noticed she’s stuffed them with food. oh mother.
before i leave, my baby walks up to my leg and looks at me with those eyes, with those ears. if she could i imagine she’d put her head on my shoulder. i lean down to leave a kiss near her nose, and to wipe away her short tears.i’ll see you tomorrow i whisper.
and i wonder, what do we gain, what do we learn, by the pains of being her.