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Mother's Day

Title: Mother's Day

Author Eglantine_br

Word Count 740

Rating PG

Mother's Day

It crested and it was the worst one yet. Every one was the worst yet.

The pain in her back didn't stop now, but tore at her like a terrible claw. She had been so sure she would not scream. Now she was too tired to hear herself, too tired for tears. Her throat was raw.

They had asked, at the beginning the midwife, and Annet, her 'prentise. Janie had lifted her chin, proud. Well, she wasn't proud now. Not at all. She pushed her hair back, panting.


“I said you are almost there. Time to move to the stool.”


Her voice was a whisper, a rasp. There was a moment or two before it came back. If she held very still maybe it would not find her.

“You cannot labor on the bed-- you will want it for later--”

“Oh, no--”

“Help me lift her.”

The voice was merciless. Two hands under her arms, other hands, four hands, six, on her naked shaking flesh. They lifted her, made her walk, and it came. It found her and she screamed.

The sun had moved by the end. She would remember always, how it shone in her eyes.

“Just breathe now, little breaths, like blowing out a candle.”

The voice was merciless and stupid too. Who could think about candles when-- she had been right. The claw was going to tear her to pieces.

“Here we are, that's the shoulders now. Hand me the towel there, Annet.”

“Oh. God.”

The voice went on, talking softly now, and there was a rush of some sliding thing. Something was making kitten sounds.

“Is it--”

Janie could see now, the towel, and a tiny hand, extended, fingers out wide, reaching for her, looking for her.

“There. A fine boy.”

They brought a clean shift to clothe her. It was over. She should be covered. The shift was one she had worn at the end. It was huge, but so was she still. She had thought she would be smaller again right away. Looking down, she could see the belly still there, but soft and saggy and empty. They eased her back on the bed, cool and clean. That was good at least.

The pain was still there too. It much less now, but not gone, as she had dared to hope. Annet came kneaded her belly, like a woman making bread. That made it worse.

“Hurts. Do you have to?”


“Where did she take him?”

“Oh, just to get him cleaned up a little. Don't you worry.”

“I want him.”


Annet seemed amused. It wasn't funny.

“Here we are.”

The midwife was back, they had him all wrapped up, only his little head sticking out, he was a person, with a face, yowling in fury.

“There now. Put him to the tit, like this-- see he knows what to do. Get her a cold ale, Annet, from the summerhouse.”

The door shut. The midwife sat down on the chair by the bed.

“I must ask you again. Who is the father? It is better to know, child. You can force him to--”

“I don't know!”

Well that shut the old biddy up.

“Is he supposed to have have hair on his back?” She could not help the quaver in her voice. He he a lot of it, black whorls, like a man.

“Oh yes. Many do. It will fall out by next week. Now wrap him up, it keeps 'em warmer so.”

So she wrapped the cloth around him, held him close. He smelled so good. She rested her nose on his head so she could get the good smell of him deep into her. He smelled like something she had known once, so well and forgotten, forgotten or dreamed.

“Why not let me put him in the cradle? You should sleep.”

“No, not yet.”

She wanted to smell him, to open his little hands, to rub his miniscule feet. How could anything be so small, and entire?

“He will have your name then-- since you will not name the father. But what will you call him?”


“All right. I'll put it down so, in my book. John Simpson.”


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 12th, 2013 08:23 am (UTC)
Oh! I was reading this (with awful memories of the pain of contractions) trying to think who it might turn out to be. Didn't get near it. Well written, that girl!
May. 12th, 2013 09:52 am (UTC)
She loved him, with that crashing mammalian, suddenness. I don't think she had expected that.

There has been a whole lot of bad behavior in my part of the world, in the last little bit. Lots of people asking 'why did such and such turn out that way?'

This is what I get for wondering.

I think perhaps his mother died, while he was still a little kid. His options at that point were not so good.
May. 12th, 2013 11:27 am (UTC)
I think he was abused as a child. Or bullied in some way. It repeats, sometimes.
May. 12th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
Yes. I have no doubt of that.

Do you have people talk in your head that you would rather not write? He is like that for me. He is a persistent guy.
May. 12th, 2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
Um. Not sure. Sometimes. I try to ignore them.
May. 12th, 2013 04:29 pm (UTC)
I worry that if I ignore too much they will all stop. Hasn't happened yet, but it could. Also sometimes you have to write the things on top to get to the ones underneath. (At least, I seem to have to.)
Oct. 4th, 2016 11:18 am (UTC)
I'm not surprised he would pester you. As Archie said, when he decided on a course of action, he pursued it with determination.

And of course you would have to portray the moment when he is sweetest and most vulnerable, so we feel sorry for him. It's not your fault. Jack made you do it.
May. 12th, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC)
Thank goodness for modern meds!!I delivered 7 kids!! #5, at age 40 was the hardest;"sunnyside up, 'stuck' for several minutes, making it impossible to try Cesarean and painful to push, his backbone against mine!! His face was swollen so much for the first 12 hours, we couldn't see his eyes!! This is the one I call Houdini, who ever after was "the escape artist"!!
May. 12th, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC)
I suppose it is just as well they can't remember being born. It must be horrible. We, at least, know what is happening. And we usually signed up for it!
May. 12th, 2013 08:17 pm (UTC)
Luckily, they don't remember it!! I tell my son he was "high maintenance" right from the start!!LOL!
Oct. 4th, 2016 11:22 am (UTC)
You are a superwoman! I was so thankful that my labors were all quick - 2 or 3 hours and done. They were an intense few hours. I panicked because I never did take prenatal classes and didn't know how to huff and puff. Thankfully they were over too quickly to require drugs, or much idea of what I was doing. I was so proud of myself afterwards - "Look, I made a baby! Look what my body can do! Let's do that again!"

That squishy belly afterwards is sad. I loved nice round bumps when there were babies in them. Not so much fun afterwards, when I just felt loose and fat and falling apart. But the babies were a nice compensation.,

Edited at 2016-10-04 11:29 am (UTC)
Oct. 4th, 2016 05:23 pm (UTC)
I never did get to really labor. I had two c-secs at about 34 weeks. But I do remember that sore deflated squishy feeling, and everything else.

I did have the great honor of delivering a baby for a friend. She went into labor at home, unexpectedly. By the time the ambulance got to her we had the baby out and wrapped in a nice clean towel!

I would not have chosen to do it if given a choice. Babies should come out somewhere where there are resources in case of trouble. But my friend had no trouble at all. And I have been there for for the birth of dogs, cats, goats, sheep. One little human is not so different, form the foot of the bed.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )