P—W  V° 03:09


by Noelle Kichura

I once heard that a mother’s only solitude is in the shower.

My own mother’s had glass doors, creamy travertine tiles, and one central stone that held the relief of a dragon.

Also etched in my memory is the first of many times she told me she never actually wanted to be a mother. We were in the car on our way to CVS as she listed the accomplishments of her early career and its disappearance upon marrying my dad and deciding to have a child.

This confession was never meant to imply I was not loved. Rather, it served as a warning for what I might be forced to abandon should I decide to follow the same path.

I think she wanted to save me.   

As I grew older, my mother’s solitude went from hurried moments in the shower to months spent lying in her four-poster bed. Our hours of painting, sculpting, and reading together gave way to the door staying mostly closed.

“She has a migraine,” my dad would say. And maybe she did. I just remember being scared to disturb her, and sad she didn’t want to come out.

Now when I imagine motherhood all I think of is loss. I mourn for my mother’s stunted life and unshared talent, her daily being burdened with the labor of raising children. A nightmare of contractions, bleeding and years of stolen existence.

A terrified voice tells me that if I become a mother, I might want to stay in bed, too.

The exhaustion of caring only for others will be so great that it will smother everything else.  I’ll extinguish like a flame, my children cursed with the guilt of having suffocated my oxygen.   

2023 © N.Kichura