Changes

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Rebecca struggled to lift the baby’s car seat out of her two-door car.  Little Emily was only three months old, and light as a little pink feather, but when she was in that damned car seat the entire package felt like it weighed at least a hundred pounds.

The handle of the car seat finally popped past the door frame and the edge of the plastic seat jerked forward and slammed into Rebecca’s hip.
“Shit!” she hissed, then glanced down at Emily.  She’d have slapped a hand over her mouth for good measure, but they were both full with the car seat, diaper bag, and a hastily wrapped gift.  The baby slept on, peacefully unaware of her mother’s slip of the tongue.
Rebecca juggled everything up the walk to the Fisher’s front door and then stopped, trying to figure out how she was going to ring the doorbell.  Before she could decide what to put down, the door swung open and she was confronted with Brenda Fisher’s ever-smiling face.
“Oh my, you’re really loaded down aren’t you?  Here, let me take that package for you.” 
Rebecca followed her through the house to the party that was already in full swing.  She worked her way around the edge of the room, horribly aware that her body had not exactly rushed to drop the weight she’d put on during her pregnancy.
To make things worse, she hadn’t had the time to put on any makeup and it had been months since she’d had her hair cut.  A glance down at her nails revealed cuticles that would probably make her manicurist cry, several broken nails, and a few that showed signs of being bitten.  Her gaze was drawn to a spot on her blouse that she hadn’t noticed, and since none of her pre-pregnancy slacks fit, she was wearing her fat jeans.
Looking around at the other women, she remembered last time she’d been to one of Brenda’s Summer Saturday parties, nearly a year ago.  She’d worn lemon-colored slacks in a size four, and a silk blouse in stripes of green, yellow, and orange.  She’d been to the salon and her hair and nails were done to perfection.  She’d fit in…before.  Now she was the ugly duckling in a pond of swans.
A small sound from the car seat pulled her eyes from the flock of women to Emily, beginning to stir.  Rebecca reached down to unbuckle the baby and lift her free of the seat. 
With the ease of repetition, she cradled the baby and tossed a light blanket over her shoulder.  Reaching under the blanket, she rearranged her shirt and bra, settling Emily against her breast.  As the baby latched on and Rebecca felt the comforting pull of the nursing baby, she smiled.
Who cares if my stomach’s not flat and my hair is.  Look what I can do! Rebecca thought.
She settled back on the couch and prepared to enjoy the party with her baby girl.

This post is my response to a prompt from Write On Edge – we had to pick four numbers, and those numbers told us what we were writing about.  My numbers gave me a new mother for my character, a party for my setting, summer for the time, and reminiscing about how things change for the subject – with a 500 word limit.

As always, please let me know what you think of this short story in the comments, and thanks for taking the time to read! 

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21 thoughts on “Changes

  1. That's such a tough time in a way for new moms, trying to reconcile the changes with the person you were before.

    I love that she feels so empowered and comfortable in her own skin with her daughter in her arms. I'm pretty sure I didn't feel like that until my second baby 😦

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  2. This was a lovely transition to being out of place to fitting right in. I never would have plopped myself down on a couch to breast feed. I'd have asked afro a room to use.

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  3. I was so nervous when my first baby was born that I was afraid to go anywhere! The very first thing we went to after he was born was a Star Trek convention…that was where I learned to breastfeed in public without anyone noticing. (Or if they did figure out what was going on under the blanket, nobody said anything!)

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  4. You did an excellent job with the elements you got. They fit your story very well. In addition, I enjoyed this story. I do remember, ages ago, that feeling of the only with a baby — I was the first of my friends to have a baby — it was strange.

    Yet, it's true that motherhood gives a special feeling, as you showed with your character.

    Thanks for sharing this story:~)

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  5. I never actually wore anything that was a size four, but I felt like I was right there with your character and her mixed emotions regarding where she had been and where she was in the moment. Great job setting up the mood!

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  6. Thanks Amybeth! I started with something MUCH more depressing…but like I mentioned in a reply above, I'm TRYING to be more upbeat and less grumpy. I think I'm too young yet to be this crotchety!

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  7. Thank you Sara! Being the first in the group to have a baby is a special kind of weird. It's hard to fit yourself back into the space you left – you aren't the same shape anymore, mentally or (for some of us) physically.

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  8. Thank you!

    I've never been that small either. Just prior to my first pregnancy I had gotten down to a size fourteen…which is kind of a four…if you squint at it and turn your head sideways. But I do vividly remember being mortified that I had to go out in public in my pregnancy clothes a month after my son was born. On TV the women are back to a flat tummy 15 minutes after delivery! Reality isn't that convenient.

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  9. Thanks! I have no idea what comes next for Rebecca! LOL That's probably a terrible thing to admit, but sometimes these little shorts just stay short. Like the entire purpose of the character was that one scene. Now I feel sorry for Rebecca!

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  10. Thanks Kenya! Breastfeeding was SO easy with my first son – I was all set for trouble (I borrow it when I don't have enough of my own), and then my son just seemed to know exactly what to do. Things didn't go as well the second time around, so I've been on both ends. And I learned that I really hate the smell of formula…a lot.

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