Monday, March 26, 2012
Rob has given notice to quit his second job. Celia, now seven months pregnant, fears that between the fatigue of pregnancy and the ongoing stress of living with her mother (not to mention keeping up with her teaching job), she will be too overwhelmed to manage the move to their new house.
Thank God for spring break. Celia and Rob lived simply in their one-bedroom apartment, and since the house purchase she had been systematically packing her non-maternity clothing. But managing her mother continued to take more time than she had planned and she was starting to feel the pressure. Mom, characteristically, was complicating things with her efforts to be helpful. Case in point: she bought dozens of new hangers that had to be stored now and moved later, congratulating herself that they had been on sale and that she had saved fifty cents per box. Celia had given up on trying to change this sort of thing.
“Good thinking, Mom,” she said instead of fighting it head on. “We’ll definitely need more hangers when we move.” This approach was healthier for everyone and required much less energy to play mother to her mother.
She knelt on the kitchen floor, trying to bend far enough over her belly to reach the unopened toaster in the back, to pack it. But she couldn’t reach it. She sat up, took a deep breath, and indulged in a brief fantasy: what might it be like to have a mother who was actually helpful? There was much to be grateful for: the sale of Mom’s house provided the downpayment for the house they would share. Celia would be able to work and not have to worry about daycare with Mom there to take care of their baby.
She knew that her mother had not been great at child rearing the first time around. But Celia did not want to dwell on the implications of Mom taking care of her child while she was at work… she would cross that bridge when she got there.
Meanwhile, there was moving in April, and of course giving birth in May.
Celia heard the front door open. “I’m home, honey,” Mom said.
“Hi Mom.” Celia reached up to the counter to pull herself up, and as she did so she was seized by pain around her middle, like something was pushing down on her—
She sucked in her breath and put her hands on the floor. In about thirty seconds, the pain passed.
Mom put her head in the kitchen to see Celia on all fours. “What’s wrong, honey?”
“I need to call the doctor right now,” Celia said. “Something’s not right.”
What happens next?