She sat alone in the dark, rocking her child back and forth.
The child was heavy in her arms.
The weight felt foreign, an extension of herself that didn’t quite fit.
It had demands that she never quite felt she could meet.
Before had been easier.
The physical connection had been a reassurance, an innate confidence in his moods, his needs. Every kick had emotion, every roll an intention.
Now, the physical touch drove home the separation.
His needs were no longer hers but a mystery.
A puzzle she had to piece together.
This tiny creature loomed larger than life in the dark.
In daylight, her face and her scent were all he would accept.
By nightfall he both desired and detested her comfort.
And she was exhausted.
As she rocked, she thought about the child beyond the door.
The one who seemed so mature compared to the child in her arms.
The one who desperately wanted to be the child in her arms.
The one who wanted to be both grown and little, yet didn’t manage to be either.
This child had also been an extension of herself.
Their bond had had time to be nurtured, there was confidence in glances, in sounds and gestures. She was familiar and comfortable and comforting.
Until she wasn’t.
Suddenly this child had become a new entity.
One with feelings that couldn’t be processed and thoughts that couldn’t be expressed and needs that desperately needed to be met.
And she failed her.
Again and again she failed her.
As the new weight pressed her down, she could feel it pushing on the child.
Sometimes the weight was too much and she pushed the child to carry it.
Such a large burden for a child who wanted to be small.
No matter how she tried, no matter how much of the weight she shouldered, she could not lift it completely off the child.
So there was guilt.
So much guilt it was suffocating.
The weight sat right on her chest.
Some days it was all she could do to breathe.
As she rocked, she breathed.
Back and forth. In and out.
She felt the weight in her arms finally relax.
She heard laughter beyond the door.
Tonight, she wanted to join the laughter, to find out what was hiding under all that weighed her down.
But the door was so very far away and she was so very tired.
So instead, she rocked back and forth, matching the motion to the inhales and exhales.
Looking at the light that leaked around the door.
A door that seemed like so much more than a door.
There was life behind that door, one who’s pressures she resented and who’s memory she clung to.
A life that used to be hers.
One that she may never fully find again.
The weight of that loss settled in amongst the others as she sat alone in the dark, rocking her child back and forth.
The weight of her new life.
One she was not certain she could carry.