They tell you that time makes you forget.
As time has been ticking on, I’ve been thinking about how things were one year ago: how my first contraction started on a Tuesday night, how the next day we had a doctor’s appointment, how the contractions really became almost too much to bear well before the baby (then, of an unknown gender) was ready to leave the warmth and comfort of the womb. When we got to the hospital around 11 p.m. on Wednesday night (with me gripping the railing for support to wait through the wave of the contraction), I was only at three or four centimeters. For those not in the know, the baby isn’t ready to exit her first home until the opening reaches a perfect score: ten centimeters. I wasn’t even close, and the numbers didn’t change quickly.
It’s nearing midnight, and we’re about to move from April 21st to April 22nd. I can list further things that happened and the rough order of those events. Around 2 a.m., I’d progressed to maybe six centimeters. Precious little progress for how I felt at that point. As my husband and I agree, we would have made terrible pioneers; under pain, I buckle. Our plans – our Bradley Method class plans – changed. Through the drugs, which I’d sworn I wouldn’t use, and the blood pressure scare and the pushing, however, I knew why I was there, knew why the pain was worth pushing through.
And it was. It was worth every second – worth many more seconds, in fact. Watching this sweet girl take her first step, seeing her throw an affectionate arm around the cat, thrilling at her first effort to blow a kiss, it’s like everyone says: I can’t imagine life without her. Well, actually, maybe I can. After all, I lived many years without knowing this is what motherhood – and this particular motherhood – was like. But I can’t imagine this particular life, this moment of my life, without her. I hope I never have to.
And that’s why you have to remember. Time doesn’t make you forget. It might push the painful moments further back, like the blurry background in a photograph: it’s there, but you don’t focus on it. You need it to complete the picture so the moment isn’t floating in space, unanchored and unreal.
You don’t forget, and you wouldn’t want to.