Back to work after maternity leave

So get this:


As an unfertilized egg,

Developed inside your mother’s ovaries

When she was an embryo

Growing inside

Your grandmother’s womb.



Or the ovum that later became you,

First budded to life inside

Your grandmother’s body.

When Rocky and Victor were born,

I could look at their

Smashed red faces–

Perfect to me–

And know what people meant

When they said a

Baby has an

Old soul.

It was more than just the

Wizened old-man wrinkles and

Tired eyes from

Months squeezed into the amniotic sac.

It was how they knew

Just what to do:

Root for milk;

Cry for attention;

Burrow into my chest for a nap.

The way they knew

Just how to make me love them–

It felt altogether too knowing and

Sophisticated for someone just a few

Minutes old.

You’ve done this before,

I thought.

And in the fever of the first

Maternal pangs:

“Please, don’t ever, ever die,”

A glimmer of hope:

Maybe they have had lives before,

And maybe they’ll have lives after.

Maybe there’s a chance of


For these precious creatures.

And now,

Scientific validation:

Maybe not immortal,

But at least an extra 30-odd years.

Since the two bitty ova that became

Victor and Rocky

Grew inside my fetal body

Back in 1974-75,

They were along for the ride,

Inside my mom for

Nine-plus months.

A comfort,

Since Rocky never got to meet my mom

Who died in January when I was

Five months pregnant.

And I,

In fact,

Date all the way back to 1942-43,

While my mother gestated inside my


Makes me feel somehow wiser.

A part of me existed during World War II.

Thus, perhaps,

My penchant for

Third Reich documentaries on Netflix.

I love this shit.

These bits of biological trivia that

Expand my sense of the

Miraculous in life.

Yet another point to marvel on

As I gaze on my boys,

Stunned by a ferocious love

I did not know I was capable of.

My intention with this blog post

Was to somehow tie this back to


Back to

Work after

Maternity leave.

A counterpoint to the

Bummer of it all.


It’s not that I want to be a

Stay at home mom

(A SAHM, for those who don’t

Read mommy blogs.)

Or actually,

Here’s what I want:

I want to be both a



Have a fulfilling full-time


At the same time.

I want both


Not at different times in my life.

All right now.

I mentioned this impossible

Longing to a friend,

And he responded,

“You should be able to have both.

This world is dumb.”


But like a good mortgage-holder,

I trooped back to work last Monday morning

Wearing the sparkly pink eye shadow I had

Bought to make myself feel better.

(It worked.)

I didn’t cry on the phone to my husband

In the pumping room.

I didn’t cuddle Rocky for too long that first morning,

Making myself late.

I’ve just been

A little crabby and

A little cynical.


What the hell does anything matter?

There are


Being born.

Human lives starting.

Anything else can seem a little

Banal when compared to a baby’s

First sweet smile of the day,

Instantly nullifying the

Six times he woke you up the night before.

I’m not ungrateful–

I like my job and my coworkers.

(How much would it suck to


“Why am I feeling this way?”

I groaned to my husband.

“Because now you have to

Go back to work for the

Rest of



He synthesized.


And true.

Nothing else to look forward to;

Just the long slog to retirement.

(Or another baby?)

I know I’ll pick up steam again.

Start popping vitamin D supplements.

Get back into shape.

Join the world in

Spirit as well as


It was a precious,

Rarefied time.

My intention was to

Savor every moment of it.

So it kinda sucked when

Some days were rough.

It really did take the

Six weeks

Allotted by the insurance company to

Physically recover from the birth.

I was at the doctor at least

Once a week for

Various unmentionable reasons.

Sometimes had to sleep all day to

Catch up from the night before.

Now that I think about it,

It is kinda nice to be

Back at work.

Beyond those puffy,


First weeks,

When getting a minute to

Take a shit feels like the

Big accomplishment for the day,

And my bed,

Old friend,

Has turned against me,

Is no longer the quiet sanctuary of

Rest at the end of the day,

But is instead the scene of a weird sleep continuum,

A never-ending struggle,

Day and night,

Night and day,

To match my circadian rhythms to the

Nonsensical ones of the

Tiny body

Lying next to me,

Banging his feet on the mattress.

So what does this all have to do with

Immortal lives and

Ova that transcend a

Normal human lifetime?

I don’t know.

It’s just a subject to

Ruminate on that

Makes life feel more


That’s all.