MOTHER - Annie Ridout

MOTHER

I go running in the countryside in a
jumper that says MOTHER across the chest.
And I feel awkward about it.
Perhaps it’s because motherhood is so ingrained in my
life and looks and body and identity
that I needn’t brandish it across my chest, too.
But I wear it, because it’s grey and I
always wear grey jumpers when I run.
They tend to have slogans.
I don’t like slogans.
So the slogan grey jumpers become
running gear.
Though I should say:
I’m not actually running, on my run.
I’m walking.
I can’t run, because motherhood has made my
insides implode.
Collapse.
(Slightly) prolapse.
My back aches, and my belly protrudes.
Some women say they love their post-birth bodies.
The saggy tits and flappy skin and ‘tiger stripe’ stretch marks.
I don’t.
I‘ll keep the kids and have my pre-baby body, thanks.
But as it is, I’ve got pancake breasts dangling below the MOTHER.
I see an older woman walking towards me.
She doesn’t have kids.
Perhaps she didn’t want them.
Perhaps she did.
Either way, I feel like a thoughtless teenager with my
MOTHER slogan screaming at passers-by:
I AM A MOTHER. I AM A MOTHER.
DO YOU KNOW I AM A MOTHER?
When I get home, I’ll take my MOTHER jumper off
and find another grey sweater for my walk.