Pam Moore | Longreads | July 2017 | 16 minutes (4,065 words)
1. My face—and my life—split in half ten days after my second daughter was born.
In the grainy iPhone photos taken immediately after Lucy’s birth, I am looking at the ceiling, not at her. The gray-gold glow of dusk peeks through the blinds and I feel as if it’s four in the morning, as if I’ve been laboring all day.
In fact, I’d felt the first twinge of labor around lunchtime. I put my toddler down for a nap and was halfway through an episode of Breaking Bad when I realized this was it. I made my two-year-old a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and packed her overnight bag between contractions. At three o’clock my in-laws came for her and I waddled to the sidewalk to thank them while my husband buckled her into their car. The midwives came about an hour later, and our baby was born as the summer sun dipped behind the Rocky Mountains.
In those pictures she grows pinker with every breath and all I can think is, Holy shit. Not Holy shit, she’s gorgeous or Holy shit, I am in love with her, but Holy shit, it is finally over. As in Holy shit, that was hard.
I didn’t know the hardest part was yet to come. I had no idea the next 365 days would find me depleted, sad, and anxious. I would spend the year vacillating between dreaming of a fast forward button to catapult me through time, and berating myself for squandering my daughter’s babyhood. But that would come later.