I don’t remember much about Lamaze classes. I remember we had to walk through the hospital cafeteria to get to our classroom, and that it smelled of canned peaches. And I remember the self-conscious task of slowly and then rapidly breathing in and out in front of other pregnant women who were also slowly and then rapidly breathing in and out. It all felt silly and pointless.
I didn’t use a lick of what I’d learned in class when I gave birth to my son.
“Remember to breathe,” everyone kept telling me.
As if I’d forget.
That boy is seventeen now. He plays guitar in his room because he’s too shy to play in front of us but I can hear it through the walls and it makes my heart sing. He leaves tissues in his pants pockets even though I’ve asked him a million times to empty them before putting them through the wash. He puts black pepper on everything. He’s rail thin and his hugs are all elbows and shoulder blades. And every time I think of him leaving us my chest tightens in quick spasms and I have to remind myself to breathe.
And it’s finally dawned on me what those Lamaze classes were about. I wasn’t learning how to deliver my son. I was learning how to let him go.
originally posted 5/11/19