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Those Words

Brain Malformation Genetic Screening,

upside down and bold, those words

creeping across the top of the doctor’s clipboard

do much more than lodge themselves somewhere in my visual cortex.

They break me open.


A dark Darwinian instinct tried to warn me

with a poor postpartum bond.

Some ancient part of me had known,

Intuited the inception of some basepair malware,

and built a dam of tears around my heart.


Brain Malformation Genetic Screening,

those words swim as the clipboard rotates

towards my soggy eyes, swollen breasts, sorrowful belly.

This spastic offsping is laying next to me, I note,

wearing a onesie that I had picked out for my son.


Relationship to patient: Mother,

I slowly spell with numb fingers,

as if one word could capture it.




This week marks one year since we got Alden’s diagnosis. What a surreal year of joy and sorrow, meaningful connection, anxiety and trauma. In the emotional crater that formed a year ago, we have rebuilt. We are still searching for answers as to why Alden’s brain formed the way it did; but, we have also become comfortable with the fact that we may never know. One year ago, I was struggling with postpartum depression. With the additional trauma of this diagnosis, I felt broken beyond repair. It has been the hardest year of my life so far; but, I am healing stronger than before. I am learning to let go of expectations, to breathe through grief, and to embrace the joy of today and uncertainty of tomorrow. Most importantly, I love my son, as he is today - a joyful little being who continues to teach me about what is most important.


Relationship to patient: DRAGON MOM! - two words can capture it :)


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