A Mother's Intuition is Never Wrong
I'm awash in hormones, lately, like a beach after a tropical storm.
My mind keeps scanning the events of the past few days, looking for threats and things to feel bad about. Why? Even when it finds nothing, I still feel on guard.
Last night the toddler was acting out more than usual. After two or three time-outs, he walked into the kitchen and spit water all over the floor.
"That's it," my husband said. "You're going straight to bed."
The toddler erupted in sobs. The kind of crying he does when his heart is breaking. Those cries cut into me. I held him and helped him put on his jammies. We took deep breaths and read a bedtime story. When my husband came in, the toddler said in a small voice:
"I didn't mean to spit water on the floor."
Ah. That explained the sudden sobbing. He was feeling misunderstood. I must remember that for later, when his sadness takes that same shrill tone. God, how it guts me. I know it's an overreaction. I know there are parents whose children have cancer, and have to handle unthinkable situations, and here I am using the word "gutted" to describe a toddler's tears. But it's how I feel.
I've been having intrusive thoughts about the baby again.
My brain is a terrorist, leading me down dark and twisted tunnels, then assaulting me with gore. It tinkers cooly, cruelly with the mechanics of grisly situations. What would the baby sound like if...? What would the baby do if..?
I don't want to release the images into the world, even though writing about them has helped in the past. These images themselves, these imagined scenarios carry a certain amount of energy that I feel I must surpress, for my son's sake. Violent thoughts about him, even those not based in reality, certainly not based in desire, are an affront to him still.
Shortly after she had her son, a friend of mine said that her own intrusive thoughts masqueraded as intuition.
That must be what gives them so much their power. Intuition is so powerful and so necessary, especially when you're a mother. Our culture teaches us to ignore it at our peril. And then I record the toddler saying, "Mommy, look at dis," so he can hear himself speak, and from some reptilian part of my brain a thought burbles forth: This is the last recording of his voice that I will ever have of him. Something will happen to him and when it does it will be all I have left. "Mommy, look at dis."
These moments, over and over again, chafe at me until I'm bloodied and raw, and soon the whole world feels like one impending tragedy. Everything on the cusp of falling apart.