The woman on the tv is giving birth. She screams. They give her an epidural. She lies down in fetal position and an enormous needle enters her spinal cord. She pushes three or four times. The father holds a video camera. Her family is in the room. They encourage her. The doctor gives her instructions. The baby finally slides out. They are waiting. It cries. They take it away to be cleaned. They wipe the blood from its body with a cloth, then remove the liquid from its nose, then wrap it in a blanket and give it to its mother. Enthralled, she holds the baby and kisses it.
Next comes another woman. After hours and hours of labor, she is in a lot of pain. The baby isn’t getting enough oxygen. They decide to perform a Cesarean. They tie her hands to posts and stretch a blue cloth across, separating the mother’s face from her body. The scalpel cuts into her skin. I see the layers of fat, blood. They reach the uterus and make a small incision. The doctor inserts his hand and moves it around, looking for the baby. He pulls it out by its buttocks. The father cuts the umbilical cord.
The desire to have another baby won’t leave me. It rises through my body, filling me with bitterness. The erratic movements of the small hands, the body that molds itself into the arms carrying it, how it seeks warmth, the slightly lost, diffuse gaze. A baby. I deeply want another pregnancy, another baby.
I am attentive to the changes in my expectant body. A body that is no longer mine. Unfamiliar sensations. There is no struggle against this, only the sensation that I am a passenger on a voyage. The swollen breasts, smells overcoming me at unsuspected moments, smells that I had never even noticed, flavors that are disrupted. Until suddenly, one night, something moves inside my belly. First like bubbles, and then, little by little, like a living being with movements of its own. Company, an accomplice. To eat something sugary, knowing he will kick harder. It is lulled when I walk and wakes when I lie down. Sometimes he has the hiccups. Afterward, an arm, a leg pushing out the tense skin on my belly. It gets harder to walk. Surprise, an exceptional state, new rules, other priorities. Expectancy, fear, anxiety. The promise of something completely unknown, a radical transformation, no return.
When’s the next one going to be? Barroso asks during my check-up. After 42, I recommend pregnancy only through ovule donation.
I cannot accept the fact that my time has run out, that I will never be able to get pregnant again. I long to have two children. A different constellation. I don’t know what kind, but don’t let it be the same, don’t let me be the center, don’t leave me here to devour Martín with my shouts, my fears, my anguish. My mother and the absent men. She and I, alone. There was no one else in Mexico. No one. They were all so far away.
A crack slowly began to open up between Val and me. Martín was still a baby. There I am, always waiting, always winding up furious because he comes home late. He comes home later every time. I don’t know what’s going on. Distance, silence.
Val left home when Martín turned three. Sitting on a park bench on Mazatlán Street, he told me he needed to go away for a while. Fine, I said, but agree to have a second child with me. He accepts. I don’t know why, and I feel that I shouldn’t ask. Just do it. Am I crazy? The impulse, the desire, the need. A sibling for Martín. Mother of two: another scenario. I need for us to live another story. I long for us to live another story. A cons-
tellation that offers us different places, different ways of connecting.
Each child means revisiting one’s own infancy, Beatriz said today. Desire inside the body.