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It’s My Body, Not Your Job

By Elizabeth Cranford Garcia

It’s three weeks now since I gave birth to my third (and final!) child, and despite what I know about how long it takes, and how patient I need to be, for that baby belly to dissipate, I find myself near the end of a long, dark tunnel of sacrificing my body for my children, …

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Pioneer Grandmothers and Helping Babies Breathe in Nepal

By Kimberly Sears

My eyes still well up with tears when I recall the excruciating ordeal of my first baby’s birth. The most comforting thing during those thirty-one hours was when my mom whispered to me, “Kimberly, all the grandmothers are here, in this room, watching over and helping you.” How did she know my pioneer foremothers were on …

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Mary Keeps All These Things

By Susan Elizabeth Howe

I stir the innkeeper’s sympathy only when my water breaks and runs down my leg, soaking my blue robe, and I have to lean against his shabby door; he looks at me through splintered eyes. I have come down from the donkey in the great bell of my body, the weight of the child and …

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Old and New, Give and Take: Hellos, Goodbyes, and Dill Pickles

By Teresa Bruce

Gatherings, greetings, and goodbyes. Welcome, Baby New Year, and farewell, Old Man Time. Endings yield beginnings. “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The exchange of one year for another evokes reflection, but this isn’t about New Year’s resolutions or figurative arrivals and departures. When I was pregnant with …

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Born

By Sherilyn Stevenson

Yessssssssss, he celebrates while juice drips from fruit as if from his fangs and Mother Eve through The Fall groans, releasing at once all her children— bare and bawling and born to a place smoldering (forked-tongued-tempter stoking the coals) for a chance to rise from imminent ashes, each of us a green seedling springing from …

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Intensive

By Sarah Plummer

“Your baby’s number is… 37174. You’ll have to give that number anytime you call for information about her. And we only give medical information to the parents.” The charge nurse is loud, and I can’t tell if that’s her normal voice, or if she speaks up because it looks like I’m not listening. I am …

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After Albertinelli’s Visitation, in the Uffizi

By Elizabeth Cranford Garcia

–for my sister The orange flickers first, the gleaming cloth across the room, that pulls you close to sense their breathing: face to face, two women, both diagonal, but one in deference, in blue. The elder reaches out to soothe her fear with leaning empathy, to glimpse the lowered eyes–and knowledge licks her womb. Their …

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Sanctissimi Corporis

By Julianna Kelly Bratt

At Ogunquit Beach, where Maine meets the North Atlantic Ocean, we sprinkled my great-aunt Rosemary’s ashes. The sky was dripping and cold and grey, and I watched her sister pour her out into the sand, like she had always been a part of it. I want the same thing when I die. Dust to dust, …

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Roots and Branches: An Abbreviated Encyclopedia of Genealogy

By Holly Baker

Adam In the beginning God created man. The sixth day, He called this pinnacle of creative periods. And to Adam, the first man, He gave a commandment: to multiply and replenish the earth. That is, to have children. To be the solid trunk that sprang from divine roots—an immortal One’s creative hands. To stand as …

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A New Green Birth

By Julie Nelson

We scatter seeds in rows of statued stone marked with names and planting year. Encased in sleek shell, the earth cool upon their necks, the seeds sleep through seasons of light and dark, eyes pallid as the moon. God sees His seed, waiting to be warmed by the Sun. Buds uncurl under fingertips drumming thunder, …

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