Dear baby, You nestled in, neither child nor anything remotely considered human, discluding beliefs of the Catholic Church and I would advise to disclude the beliefs of the Catholic Church, you nestled into your warm dark bed and perhaps it would always have been best to tear you out with my fingernails.
I don’t like the world one bit, it all flashed across my mind like fire. It is toxic, it’s all death and destruction, a baby all soft and white and fragile is not safe in a world like this. The autumn air was wrought with peril. The blackish leaves like Halloween decs were ripped screaming from their branches. The puddles were frosted glass, cracked and splintered. Breath fired lungs, gusted vicious white plumes. The sun was more like a snowflake, pale and sharp. My mum always says, It’s a dangerous world out there, she’s only joking, well only half-joking, she’s a big worrier. Well she’s right, I choke on my own spit. Through the hot black tunnels of me was a tiny beating heart like a beetle clicking. A few weeks old and pulsing angrily. You could be the centre of the world.
But it was very cold and the cold made me sad, I thought you wouldn’t want to be born into a cold world. It is all treacherous ice and dark mornings, it is old people slipping and breaking their hips and dying frozen in their living rooms. You wouldn’t like it out here, I thought. You would be sad.
But your heart was loud as thunder in my ears. You see all these men sending other men to war and you see pub fights and you see people sleeping in the street and you see the Prime Minister lying so smooth and bland and you can’t help it, you just love them all. God gave me ovaries, I don’t know if he counted on love.
Dear baby, I will make the world magical for you. This is what you have to do. This is what mothers the world over have to do. I will make the world magical and it will stop us sinking into despair.
I don’t mean to be negative, baby, and that’s the whole point. We are lucky because we are in a rich country and we have family and we won’t starve or be on the streets. We have choices.
But it doesn’t mean we can’t all feel the Earth spinning into oblivion and all the stars winking out like cheap Christmas lights and it doesn’t mean that the rivers don’t gush with poison and our lungs don’t wheeze with nitrogen and sulphur oxides, unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, and everybody is not sad.
I will show you the magic, baby, the old pagan magic that they tried to burn with the witches.
Our world will be small, as the worlds of small children are, spent in patches of garden threading daisies, in corners colouring, compartmentalizing buttons and beads in colours and shapes, teatime and bathtime, enraptured by orange segments and bubbles. In the small things we will find the wonder, and the world won’t wrap at the door, that distant land of men in suits causing trouble.
Parents dream of their children’s eyes big and luminous like Catherine wheels and their smiles spread wide like beach parasols at all the beauty in the world.
Then they do not have to think, My child should not be born. He or she should stay curled up inside me like a mollusc. It’s safe there.
What are their brains like then? Are they dull or do they burn like galaxies? Or are they still and omniscient in the ocean-quiet of the womb?
All these babies that should not be born. All these little strangers that will grow stranger with the years until you cannot remember what they were, gentle prods and nudges inside you.
The galaxies glitter and each pale blaze is a blind spot, a hole as if from a cigarette burn.
I will love you but I am not sure that it will be enough.