Gingerly, I slide my hands under his sausage-like arms, my fingers cradling the doughy curves of his tiny neck, caressing the orange-yellow cornsilk on his occiput. Slowly, I lift him from the sterile white mattress he’s called home for the month since his exit from the womb, since his insurmountable hurdles began.
“What is that?” I ask. “Methadone,” she answers. My eyes cloud, my hands tighten around the little bundle. He nestles his head deeper into my shoulder, a sigh heaves his small chest, and his translucent eyelids relax once more.
I fight the anger that wells up inside me against the woman who did this to him, the woman who is not here to comfort him, the woman who chose her own wants over her baby’s needs. But if I give in to anger, this little one will sense it and respond. I breathe deeply and, during the moments we have together before my other duties call, cuddle him closer. Maybe, on some level, he will remember and be comforted.
Stockholm, New Jersey