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Human Parts
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

Motherhood

In Human Parts. More on Medium.

THIS IS US

We’ve all been stuck in some way or another

Last summer, my eight-year-old got trapped inside a couch. Under the couch, technically, in its undergirding. It was complicated, the way scenarios involving children often are, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

See, this is a story about a kid in a couch, but it is also an allegory.

It was August, a time when, normally, our family of five would be undertaking epic summer adventures, casting off from Brooklyn to shores unknown. But like everything else — school, sleepovers, birthday and holiday celebrations — summer adventures had been canceled. Both of our attempts to visit my husband’s family…


A daughter reflects on wanderlust, travel, and her mother’s life before triplets

Text by: Brooke Mazurek
Photography and collage by: Paige Mazurek

When my mother found out she was pregnant with triplets, she quit her job and let her passport expire. She was elated and scared, nauseated and starving — and by her second trimester, under strict orders to stay in bed.

For the next four months while she lay on her left side, my mother’s belly swelled, stretching in such a way that it required scaffolding — a harness doctors custom-designed to support the weight of us all. From the back, she looked narrow. From the front, enormous. …


This Is Us

This common phrase is hurtful to all women — even the mothers who are saying it

Black and white photo of a mother kissing her infant.
Black and white photo of a mother kissing her infant.

In mid-January, I was scrolling through Instagram and stopped to watch a clip Ashley Graham had posted from a video she made to celebrate her son’s first year of life. It was emotional and beautiful and sweet, but the video included a sentiment that seems to appear in so many new mothers’ lexicons: “People tell you, people will try to explain it to you, but you don’t know love until you have a child of your own…”

I felt the same thing I always feel when I hear people say things like that — a genuine pain in my chest…


This Is Us

A letter to my son

A Pietá figurine, striped dog plushie, letter from a child, and other personal items.
A Pietá figurine, striped dog plushie, letter from a child, and other personal items.

Dear Paul:

One of your sisters asks, “What happens if I shake his box?”

It is one thing to walk by the table with various keepsakes, notes, and photographs dedicated to the dead brother who came before her. It is quite another to realize the small, brown paper-wrapped box contains his ashes.

Even that term — ashes — works to ameliorate an unpleasant thought, to gloss over the act. His dead body—your perfect little dead body — was placed into an incinerator by someone and set on fire. This someone, who I will never meet.

I will never fully get…


This Is Us

Despite well-intentioned urging from others, you’re the only one who can say when the time is right

Two swings tangled together.
Two swings tangled together.

As young as five years old, I understood without real understanding that when I grew into a woman I would someday, inevitably, become a mother.

As a little girl, I semi-regularly played the game of House with a friend who lived in the next apartment building, and we’d choose our roles before each game: Husband or Wife. We took for granted that choosing Wife also meant playing the role of a mother.

We believed this because we watched as much TV as any kids in the late ’70s, and studies show TV programming has a long and largely unchanged history…


It’s forcing our kids, and us, to grow up faster than either ever expected

It suddenly occurred to me at some point early in the day on Tuesday that if Joe Biden lost, we’d wake up the next morning — or whatever morning it would be when the election was finally called — and have to break the news to my eight-year-old that Trump had won. …


This Is Us

The cultural norms around miscarriage are not serving any of us well

Black-and-white photo of a person sitting on a toilet, covering their face with their hand, elbow resting on their thigh.
Black-and-white photo of a person sitting on a toilet, covering their face with their hand, elbow resting on their thigh.

Not so long ago, talking about pregnancy was considered indelicate. Acknowledging a woman was pregnant meant acknowledging women have sex and, well… heaven forbid. We talk a little more openly about sex and pregnancy now, but we still rarely talk about something that can often happen next—pregnancy loss. We’ve never been comfortable with women and death, women and blood, women and something outside of living childbirth.

I think the thing that surprised me the most about my own miscarriage is perhaps the thing that should have been the most obvious about it. It was a work of loneliness. I didn’t…


This Is Us

Notes on parenting in the infinite present

A photo of colorful popsicle sticks lined up to look like a wallpaper.
A photo of colorful popsicle sticks lined up to look like a wallpaper.

For parents of school-age kids, May is filled with end-of-year concerts held in auditoriums with the acoustics of a school cafeteria, because it is the school cafeteria. These events are lovely and life-affirming, but they often start at nine in the morning or three in the afternoon or, occasionally, at the almost working-parent-friendly hour of six at night, which can still be impossible for anyone commuting during rush hour. …


This Is Us

I come from a long line of mothers abusing daughters

A black and white photo of two ghostly girls sitting on an antique couch with a creepy doll next to them.
A black and white photo of two ghostly girls sitting on an antique couch with a creepy doll next to them.

When I call my mother on Mother’s Day, we make mild conversation for 30 minutes. She asks about my job. I ask about the ducks. She complains about my father. We withdraw from the conversation as soon as good manners allow. This is, believe it or not, the healthiest our relationship has ever been. This is a victory, and it was hard-won.

My mother refused to give up her maiden name when she married. I have only ever known her as a conservative Irish Catholic woman, but by all accounts, she was a real wild card in her youth. I’ve…


This Is Us

Notes on being a good enough mother, among other things

A photo of wooden animal toys lined up on a windowsill.
A photo of wooden animal toys lined up on a windowsill.

I went back to work five weeks after the birth of my first child, deep in the grips of postpartum depression and postpartum guilt.

Usually, I got home at nine or 10 o’clock at night. My husband and baby would already be in bed. He stayed with our son two days a week, and the other three, our babysitter rocked him and played with him, sang to him, and watched Brazilian soccer games on her phone when he slept.

One Friday night, beat to shit by shame and fatigue, I got a drink at a little outdoor café with my…

Human Parts

A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

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