It was not like the pictures in the pregnancy books. the ones where the mother, usually white, wears a lace night gown, sits in her rocking chair, her hair in waves down her face, her baby coveted to her breast. The baby’s head is all we see and the slightly raised mound from her chest. No nipple or areola. She is an angel, the baby is her angel. Everything is arranged in gauzy perfect angel light. There was no baby who could not latch. No brown mother, her nipples bloody and cracked. No hormones coming down after the pumping machine takes her milk. This mother sweaty and tearful is no angel. Her locs piled on her head like she’s headed to a field to chop cotton or cane. This mother wears a college t-shirt slightly stained with baby spit up. She cries because she is not the woman in the pregnancy book. She watches the father feed the baby from a bottle. She loves him but she cries because she wants the baby to drink from her. She decides to kill the woman in the pregnancy book with her gauzy dumb angel light. She throws the book away. And one night when the father warms the midnight bottle the tearful brown mother tries again. she decides to lay her body down and pile pillows in the bed nest the hungry baby against her breast. Her breast is all her baby will see or smell. The latching is not easy. It hurts but the baby is hungry. And milk comes, seeps from the corner of her mouth. The mother is happy but too exhausted to smile and thinks before sleep carries her this is what should be in the pregnancy books the sweaty sleepy mother curled into her child. Whole breast exposed.
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