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The Labor Game Stories When You Never Gave Birth

By Deborah Meltvedt

Is the story as simple as this?

     We were young; we didn’t want babies; we went to Planned Parenthood, and we didn’t have babies.

     We were sort of young; he wanted babies and I wanted a degree. So we parted. He has babies and I have a degree.

     We were still sort of young; he didn’t want babies and I wasn’t sure. We almost married but we made each other mad. We broke up. Three different times. Thank God we didn’t have babies.

     We were not so young, and fell in love slowly. He didn’t want babies and I wanted him. I liked my job. He liked his job. We both liked cats and dogs and traveling. We married. They still call him mister and they try to call me Mrs. But I insist on “Ms.” He got a shitload of cool nieces and nephews from my side of the family. I got people asking me, Why don’t you have kids?

     We both go to weddings. I go to baby showers. In-between people die. We are not all that close to them. Until. My mother dies. I was with her. Watched the monitor, stroked her hair, whispered love into her ear. It was July 13 and I will have almost a year before the first Mother’s Day comes that I don’t belong to. This is when grief hits. This is the beginning of disappearing. This is when you start thinking of answers to when they ask, (and they will ask) “Why don’t you have kids?”



About the Author

Deborah Meltvedt is a writer and high school teacher who tries to blend medical science, art, and empathy in both the classroom and in her own writing. Deborah has been published in the American River Literary Review, Susurrus, Under the Gum Tree, Tule Review, and the creative nonfiction anthology What I Didn’t Know: True Stories of Becoming a Teacher. Deborah lives in Sacramento with her husband, Rick, and their cat, Anchovy Jack.