Infertile Mother

I know a woman. When I think of her, the first word that comes to mind is Mother. No, she doesn’t have a child. And still. Mother. Before she opens her eyes in the morning, her first thought is of him. Her dream baby. She saw him in her sleep again last night. He was so vivid, his small fist grasping her finger, his big eyes locked on hers, his face so eerily familiar. She even smelled him in her dream. Could that be a sign? In bed, she studies her body. Is it warmer? Is it cramping? Is her breast tender? She goes to the bathroom. She checks, as always, for signs from her womb. Is it ready? Is it receptive? Or is it bleeding out another month of hope? Another cycle of disappointment. Mother. I know a woman. It’s barely light out, but she is already at the doctor’s office. She has sat in this waiting room dozens of times. She has read all the magazines. She has studied all the baby announcements framed on the walls, imagining what hers would look like. She greets the nurse with the familiarity of an old friend. And why not? Lately she has seen the nurse more frequently than she has seen her best friend. Only the nurse has seen the needle marks puncturing her arms and the landscape of bruises coloring her thighs. And only the nurse knows that all these needle marks and all these bruises are there to ready her body for an embryo created from the core of another woman. Mother. I know a woman. She...