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My Journey to Love

Tovy Breuer

Tovi's first encounter with motherhood was not the rosy experience so many women anticipate. Her visceral, wrenching account of her struggle against a dark shadow she couldn't name might seem alien or even distasteful to some readers, and is certainly not in alignment with the Torah's view of parenting. Some might find her feelings all too familiar. Even if her story seems very distant from your own experience, this compelling read will open a window into the struggle endured by your sister, or neighbor.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The wet slithery creature is caught by the frantic doctor, then placed on me. The floundering bloody thing is a human, my child no less, and the warm motherly love will now flow in, I think. I don’t know what to do with this individual who’s entered the room without crossing the door, like an angel dropped from heaven. I look at it, weak from my fight to push it out of me, and disbelievingly congratulate myself on becoming a mother. That’s exciting, the new title “mother,” to be worn like a crown. The less flattering part is that I’m so unsure what to do with the person who just emerged amid gulps of pain into my limp, inexperienced arms. The books say I should nurse the baby right away, I remind myself dutifully. I consciously and uncomfortably set out to do just that. He wiggles away, the dirty undressed thing, and I am glad the nurse takes him to weigh him and get his needs met.

When the baby is cleaned and swaddled into a hospital blanket, his small head enveloped in a snug blue and white hat, my husband holds him, letting his momentous excitement flow, as a fatherly love builds bridges into the tiny new heart. They are bonding, as I endure the final painful procedures following the birth. On the other side of the curtain, the miracle that has just transpired is being celebrated with joy and gratitude.

“Oh, he’s beautiful and so little,” my husband says when he comes into the room. Something in me balks at the baby being spoken about when I have been through a monumental trauma just minutes ago, a trauma that remains unseen, hiding under the hugeness of the baby we got. The birth is not even mentioned, only “look at the baby.” And that baby is exactly the last thing I wanted to see, still being shocked by the fact that throughout my pregnancy, this alive and very real baby had been hiding just beneath my skin.


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