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Love, Withheld

Experiencing the heartache of being disowned, writer Ayesha Mattu reflects on the surprising elasticity of familial relationships.

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Every mother has two birthing tales:One, that of giving birth to her child, is shared. The other, of giving birth to herself, of becoming a mother and all the ways that smashes into and fractures everything else she is, of being broken open and made anew, is one that takes a lifetime to understand.My mother has a story she tells about my birth, her firstborn: 36 hours of unmedicated labor, an absent husband, and, finally, a C-section that left her torn, body and soul. As I was growing up, she told me this story as many times as she told me about her hot tears of love streaming onto my face, of writing on a tissue-thin blue aerogram to her own mother continents away to say, I finally understand the way you love me.I’m still unraveling all the ways becoming a mother has affected and enriched me as a woman, wife, and writer. What I do know: Through giving birth, one that replicated my mother’s uncooperative body, I began to accept our similarities after decades of trying to differentiate myself from her. 
I let her in. I came to depend on her again.She stayed with me after the birth of my son. In the way t …

This entry is tagged with:
EssaysMotherhoodParentingFamilyLoveRelationshipsDaughters

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