Seething with rage, I laced up my shoes into double knots. Earlier in the day, I had been part of a conversation involving teen pregnancy. This particular teen was not yet pregnant but seemed very flippant about becoming so. In the middle of the hot mess that was her life, she didn’t care if she involved another new human or not.
It enraged me because my lovingly married, gainfully employed adult friends are struggling to hold on to a pregnancy. Or even get pregnant. Or they are fretfully watching their micro premie fight for survival behind the walls of a plastic box. (Fight on, little Calvin!)
Statistically, this kid could bring home her baby without problems. She didn’t have a plan for feeding or caring for this baby, as if it was an object. I was helplessly filled with life’s bitter unfairness. I want nothing more than to hug, read to, and teach my youngest boy. My friends deserve to bring home a healthy baby of their own. I did, too. But I didn’t get to and many other good mothers don’t, either. So much rage.
I started some gritty hard-driving music, on this day, the compilations and various ensembles of Jack White. It’s good rage run music. I skipped my usual slower warm up, jabbing the speed button with my finger until my legs and shoes blurred together. My breath quickened, my tight muscles churning. I thought about my son. I thought about all the things I was missing with him. I thought about motherhood and how hard it was. I thought about the pain losing him had caused us.
My thoughts were finally being outpaced by my legs. As I pounded, I realized motherhood and good motherhood are not the same things. Good mothers consider things like finances and timing and having their lives together. Good mothers worry about being good mothers. Nearing the end of two miles, I slowed to a stop.
My muscles warm and tired, I folded myself in half, breathing out the last of the negativity onto my yoga mat. Tipping my face up and reaching my arms overhead, I sucked in strength from the sky, inviting down the power that lived there. My go-to warrior pose.
Sometimes my quiet omnipresent rage comes bubbling up. Some days it fills me until it spills out my every pore. For those days, I have running. I sweat and I pant and I run. I run for Reece. I run not from my struggles, but fully into them, pushing my body toward a physical pain that matches the emotional pain of loss.
As my heart beats faster, I can feel the scars where it cracked with his death. They throb and flex, expanding with grace in this moment of rage.
The exhaustion reminds me that I am alive. The sweat cleanses my frustration. The bitterness forms a tiny river down the back of my neck. It dribbles between my Warrior Mom shoulders that are now relaxed but squared.
And ready for the next day. Run on Warrior Moms, run on!
Photo by Arica Carlson
Arica Carlson is married and mothering three little boys, two on Earth, one in Heaven. When she isn’t writing or working, she can be found outside with her family.