I gave birth to a pair of children's mittens on February
30th. As soon as I recovered, Johnny Doe (the father of the
mittens) and I had a post-birth fumble. My uterus, bruised
and battered, surprised me. I was expecting again.
During this pregnancy, I nursed the mittens - held them
to my breasts, where they nestled woollen and pale pink. They
rested, and I smiled on them.
The gestation was one month. On March 30th, Johnny Doe took
me screaming to the hospital, and after an eight-hour labour
I bore a pair of children's booties. They were black with
a picture of a puppy on each one. Tears filled my eyes and
slid, like butter, down my cheeks. Sweaty, snotty, my love
was an ocean. The booties and the mittens were drowning. Johnny
Doe took us all home. And we made love with the mittens and
the booties asleep in the next room.
I was pregnant again.
On April 30th, I gave birth to a diaper. It continued.
On May 30th, Johnny Doe and I parented a pair of children's
socks, striped blue and purple.
On June 30th, the vest was born, with 'Grandma Loves Me'
scrawled across the front in looped red letters.
The clothes all shared the same nursery, which Johnny Doe
had painted with rainbows and sunshine. But something was
missing, and much as I gazed at my brood I could not work
out what it was. Inside me the ocean was populated with ships,
each vessel full of the future. And Johnny Doe was good to
me. But we were not complete.
Mittens, booties, a diaper, socks and a vest.
Suddenly I knew what it was. 'Johnny Doe we have to try again.'
Thus, exhausted by the care of so many young, we procreated.
On October 30th, I felt my waters break. 'It's happening!'
I shrieked. We drove to the hospital in minutes. The nurses
recognised me, shook their heads to each other, smiled at
After a 17-hour labour the midwife presented me with a purple
'See, Johnny Doe, see how beautiful it is. We're a family
He was grinning like a clown.
Back at the nursery I put the mittens and the booties and
the socks and the vest and the diaper all together in the
cot. I lay the baby-sleeper amongst them.
Then, holding Johnny Doe's hand like I would never see him
again if I let go, the ocean poured out of my eyes.
is a welcome addition.