About the Salon Piece

There are certain essays or poems or stories that require a writer to go mining to the very bottom of that deepest place she’s got, and hope against hope that she makes it back. There’s no alternative. Sure, she can ignore the tug for awhile. But eventually she realizes she’s gotta go in. She’s gotta dig. She’s gotta get to the bottom of this thing, this question, this obsession, and usually it’s a scary one, and she’s gotta go mining anyway, and hope she doesn’t get trapped down there.

The recent essay I published in Salon, about getting pregnant again after Fiona, is one of those pieces. I actually tried to get out of writing it by reading it instead. Maybe it already existed, I thought. Maybe some kind person had already said all that I’d otherwise have to. I started scrolling blogs of mothers with special needs kids. Specifically, I started scrolling blogs of mothers who’d gotten pregnant after having a special needs kid. I went to their archives, looked for the pregnancy posts. I got really close with this excellent post at Uncommon Sense. But I craved more. I even wrote to one popular momma blogger. I said something like, “For those of us who are thinking about having another child, can you write about how you’ve handled the fear and the risk?” But I didn’t get a reply.

Ball again in my court. Or shovel again in my hand. I had to go there myself. To the rocky, dark, deep place. To the bottom of it.

I came back up. Many thanks to the editor, Sarah Hepola, for accepting the piece, which you can read here.

As for how Fiona’s handling the pregnancy, here’s a little taste:

fiona tapping belly


2 thoughts on “About the Salon Piece

  1. I had a second child after my first was born with an 8q deletion. I don’t remember the fear very well, but I know it was there (they are 8 and 6 now). I was ok during the 2nd pregnancy after the nuchal translucency test showed all was ok, but it wasn’t until she was born that I truly exhaled.

  2. I started reading your blog after discovering your writing in The Sun Magazine. I do not have a child with a genetic defect, as far as I know, but one that has suffered the whirlwind ups and downs of mental instability. I wish I could give a name to his malady but he refuses to be tested, take drugs, enter a long term facility or, very pointedly, admit to having any issues. It’s always everything and everyone else that causes him to disconnect and react badly. No one knows where he is right now. He is an adult so can go missing if he wants. Though our situations are radically different, the basic tenet of your piece in Salon (and the living of your life, I would bet) is that there is no guarantee that comes with the decision to be a parent. It could all go wrong in an instant……all through their lives. It’s heartbreaking and joyous, sometimes simultaneously. It’s the way it has always been. You love them no matter what.

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