She slid so smoothly into the toilet.
And you didn’t know you would ache like that, with a baby-shaped sadness.
You didn’t know you would watch her wash out of you, that she would stain your bathroom rug red, and that you wouldn’t be able to move from that toilet —
too afraid of what else you would kill.
And that when your husband tried to hold you it would only hurt, like a pity-hug, like he couldn’t understand because no one can. You’re the only one who held her. And deep down you blame him because he’s big enough. He can handle it. God, and your husband, and anyone but you, because you were so careful.
You didn’t drink coffee or alcohol and you got eight hours of sleep every night and you ate all of the right foods and you didn’t over-exercise and you read her stories. So many stories and you sang her songs and you were going to paint her room pink and you’d just bought her a bassinet, with frills.
You didn’t know it was a girl. But you did.
Because she met you in your dreams the night you woke up sweating blood across the back of your nightgown. She was sitting there, in your dreams, playing with blocks, and she had blond curls and hazel eyes and she looked up at you and smiled.
You hold yourself sometimes when no one is looking because it’s the only way you can get dressed in the mornings.
And it’s like the world was scripted for her and now that you’ve dropped her the world has shattered too and you cry into your Shreddies and your husband doesn’t know what to say anymore.
They try to make it better. The women at church, they all tell you they’ve had one too.
Some have had more than one. One lady had had six, and that was supposed to comfort you but you just kind of froze and stammered and ran out of the church. And you sat in the car, and your husband drove you back to the beach. To the inuksuk. To the pile of rocks you built for her the day you lost her and he holds you again as the waves crash and the inuksuk stands.
They say God has her now.
Your Dad asks you if there’s something you could have done.
Your mum asks you if she hugged you too hard, and maybe that’s why you lost your baby, and she has brain cancer so she’s allowed to say things like that.
But deep down you want her to tell you everything is going to be alright.
Because that’s what mothers do. They make everything right, and why couldn’t you? Why couldn’t you just keep your legs closed so your baby wouldn’t slip out, why couldn’t you know somehow that she was broken and why couldn’t you fix her?
And you’re throwing the rocks into the water now, the inuksuk is in your hands and your husband has a hand over his mouth as you yell at the sky.
There aren’t enough rocks.
Your husband says a prayer over you as you shake against him because you can’t do it anymore. You can’t fight it anymore. And the grief comes, and you weep with the waves. And then you rebuild the inuksuk.
And you drive home slowly, together.
The car seat empty.
The sky, awash with crimson.
[Photo: Lel4nd, Creative Commons]