Fiction Fridays: “Just Another Morning”

Fiction Fridays on www.bettysbattleground.com

Hello! Welcome to Friday.

It’s Fiction Fridays #7!

Now that my family has gotten over The Plague, I have it. I almost didn’t put anything up today at all..but I created Fiction Fridays for a reason! And that reason was to make me WRITE FICTION at least once a week. So it’s short this week, and written through the haze of headache and bodyache and all sorts of aches, but it’s here.

I love all the well wishers of the world! You’re so kind. But: If you’re leaving a comment on the post, please please please say something about the fiction, and not just “I hope you get better soon, etc.” Fiction Fridays is my way of taking back my life, if even for just a day. It’s about something I love and loved before I was ever abused. It’s not something that has happened TO me (like abuse, or sickness, etc) but something I am actively DOING. While I appreciate your support (I really do) for Fridays, please comment on the fiction. If you have nothing to say about the story but feel compelled to comment, then please share this somewhere that it can be seen by potential contest entrants, and let me know where that was!

I don’t have a new writer to share with you this week because nobody entered the Fiction Fridays 6 writing prompt. That makes me sad. And suspicious. All you people leaving comments about the prompt inspiring you…hmmmm…

I hope you like this week’s prompt better. I LOVE showcasing other writers and bloggers! Since I don’t have any other writing to share this week, I will take this space to share a little more about Maria. Maria is a mama living with Postpartum Depression. She was kind and brave enough to be my first Parenting with Mental Illness interviewee. You can read her story right here. If you haven’t yet, I suggest you do. It’s pretty eye-opening.

I also opened a fundraiser for Maria, to help her continue to get access to care for her PPD. She has had it for about two years, but has only been able to get care for one month. Already, the expense has been hefty. As anyone who is raising kids on a singe-income (and she has three) knows, any added expense can be a tremendous stress. Extra stress is the last thing Maria needs right now. Her husband will be away for work soon, which leaves Maria alone with PPD and three kids. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could her get some funds for therapy or maybe a babysitter? She does not have any family or anyone around to help her while her husband is away. Although Maria did not ask me to open this fundraiser, I know that she could really use the help.

Guess what? I did some maths…and realized something pretty amazing! If everyone who visited Betty’s Battleground in one day donated just $10, we would exceed the fundraiser goal in less than a day. Wow! I know that there are times when even $10 is hard to come by. I parent with a mental illness too and as a result have no income and don’t even have a bank card with which to make a donation. If you’re in that boat with Maria and I, then would you help by sharing her fundraiser? If you’re not; if giving away $10 won’t overdraft your bank account, could ya please do it? Would you please donate just $10 to Maria’s Care Fund and ensure that she continues to be able to access the care she needs to recover from her PPD while her husband is away? I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the link:

Thank you in advance for reaching out across the intarwebs and helping this brave young mama overcome a debilitating circumstance that she did not ask for or deserve.

And now, for some fiction…

FF 7 Just Another Morning-bettysbattleground.com

Fiction Fridays #7

Just Another Morning

#FictionFridays 7: Just Another Morning-bettysbattleground.com

Cindy woke to a smack in the face.

She opened her eyes, slowly, the room dragging into focus as she succumbed to consciousness.

Another smack. Gentle, not painful, except where it made her eyes spark. Those small stings, there and then gone, were enough. Rage swelled within her. There was a moment when she could have jumped off that crest, let it die down within her, but she was too tired, too bleary, too weighted by emotions; it wasn’t so easy to just jump off.

“Gabriel,” she snapped. “Stop hitting me.” She swiped her hand out. She had just meant to stop his hand before he smacked her again, that’s really what she’d meant, she was sure of it, but her knuckles clipped his soft brown cheek instead.

“Oh Gabriel,” she knelt to him, shaking off the sheets, shaking off the sleepiness that she wanted only to keep tucked around her, “it was an accident.” She tried to put her arms around the boy, but he only howled louder and pushed her away with a stubborn grunt. She smacked the floor next to him. The sound made him catch his tears for a moment. He stared at her, waiting for what came next.

“I know it didn’t hurt that much.” She grabbed his round little body and tucked it into her lap. He placed his head against her chest, tiny hiccupping whimpers wracking his small naked chest.

Cindy rocked the boy, and herself, slowly. She stared blankly at the space behind the door. A dust bunny twitched in the corner. Cindy felt impossibly heavy, like someone had attached anchors to her limbs as she slept. Deep in the pit of her belly an emptiness swirled. As each waking moment brought her deeper into reality, the emptiness grew. She knew that by nightfall she would be nothing but a hole trapped in the body of a woman.

The baby’s thin wail rose from the bed behind her. She stood up too quickly, forgetting Gabriel, who tumbled to the floor.

“Mama,” he yowled. And there they were again, those full fat tears. How could a person even make tears that fast?

“I’m sorry, “Cindy said, harsh, whispering. She picked up the baby. “Ssh, ssh,” she begged. She hadn’t even had any coffee yet.

The pitch of Gabriel’s cries lifted into something piercing, inhuman, a sound of torture.

The baby, redfaced, began to flail her head back and forth against Cindy’s breast. She pushed her head harder and harder against Cindy’s chest, hurting her, trying to move away the cloth of Cindy’s nightshirt with her cheek. When it didn’t work, the baby opened her mouth so wide it seemed she was only a mouth on a body, and shrieked with all the effort her lungs could allow.

Gabriel threw himself to the floor and began to beat his limbs up and down, up and down. The tattoo of childish rage thumped and thumped; keeping the beat of the screaming choir.

Cindy began to cry.

Her tears were soft, hopeless; the tears of woman who knew that no one would ever hear her.

As she sunk to the floor, crumpling over herself, a guttural moan arose from deep within her.  It was a sound without thought behind it, a sound she didn’t even realize she was making. She heard the moan, and was frightened by it, because it sounded like the echo of every secret grief she harbored within her, and it seemed to her that if it was out being voiced and heard in the world that everyone could know her secrets; the secret ways in which this world had wounded her that she had never told. Tears spilled down her cheeks, dewing the baby’s eyelashes and mixing in with her small tears.

The bend of Cindy’s body allowed her shirt-neck to fall open. The baby nuzzled onto Cindy’s rosy nipple. A sigh rushed through her entire tiny body, and her eyes rolled in her head with pleasure as the milk began to flow.

Gabriel snatched a lime green binkie from beneath the bed and popped it into his mouth.  Grinning around the binkie, his tears all magically evaporated, he crawled over to his mama and wrapped his arms as full around her as he could. The toddler rested his head against her soft shoulder.

Now it was only Cindy left crying. The moan filled the room with its weird, nightmarish sonance. The baby peered up at her from her breast. Gabriel didn’t look.  He just held onto her while she cried her inconsolable grief, gripping tight as he could so that he would not lose his place to her shuddering.

The End

Close to 1 million women are diagnosed with Postpartum Depression in the United States alone. Because there is currently no universal screening test in place, and not all women may receive a diagnosis or help, that number could be much higher. Cindy’s morning is fictional, but Maria’s interview is very real. Please, I urge you, if this story moved you in any way, to also read Maria’s interview and donate even just $10 to her fundraiser today!

Visit bettysbattleground.com to learn the full contest instructions!Your prompt for Fiction Fridays 7 is simple: Write a story that begins with the sentence “[Your character’s name] woke to a smack in the face. Try to make the outcome,  reason, or delivery of the smack surprise your reader.

To submit your 300-1,000 word creative writing exploration of the prompt, “like” the Betty’s Battleground Facebook page and drop your submission as a comment on the “Fiction Fridays 7” post. I’ll pin it to the top of the page to make it easy on you! I look forward to reading your entries! Good luck!

Shares are always appreciated! I am working hard to grow my audience and reach my genuine readership; 30 seconds of sharing out of your day would totally make mine! Please take a moment to share this on the social media platform(s) of your choosing.

Til next time!

41 thoughts on “Fiction Fridays: “Just Another Morning”

  1. That was real…that was powerful. It was also heart-wrenching. I felt for Cindy. Your words drew me in and I wanted to know more about Cindy. Why was she in this predicament, why is her young child wailing on her? In those few words, I could tell something was wrong but I didn’t get the sense it was postpartum depression…it was just a mom having a difficult night. I’m sure there is much more underneath, but this was definitely captivating. You have a gift!

    • Thank you, I really appreciate your comment. It was so much more meaningful than “I liked this story” which is always nice too, but I can tell that you really read it and felt it. Thank you. I post fiction every Friday, if you would like reminders, you can subscribe on the sidebar! I promise I won’t spam you 😉

    • Hi Dollie,
      I’m sorry to hear that. Do you have any tips or experiences you can share about how you were able to overcome it? Or if you’d ever like to write a guest post on the subject e-mail bettymama206@gmail.com please!
      Best,
      Elizabeth

  2. So sorry you and your family were sick, glad to see you back. That is neat that you are doing guest posts. I look forward to checking back in to read more.

  3. This made me cry with the force of its relatability. My children are five years apart, so I had a sick new baby right along with a jealous and displaced ADHD five year old with heart problems. I dealt with both, mostly alone, while shouldering the issues of undiagnosed PTSD. I remember those nights, just crying, and I can remember the sound of my own grief-stricken cries, alone in the shower.

    Depression sucks, postpartum or otherwise.

    • Depression sucks-absolutely true. I’m so sorry that you went through so much after your kiddos were born. I had my own set of unhappy circumstances after, well, pretty much every kid honestly and it was really upsetting. That time is so often depicted as the time when mamas are supposed to be happy and connected, which means when we don’t, we feel like evil freaks.
      Brandi, if you ever want to guest post about your experience, or be a featured mama in the parenting with mental illness e-interview series, I would absolutely love to host your story. The opportunity is just an email away, always bettymama206@gmail.com

    • Thank you Sondra. It means so much to me that it had an impact on you. I really appreciate the shares as well <3

  4. Wow, this was so moving. I can’t share any experiences since I’ve not been into one yet, but your words really touched me. I’ve heard many girls struggle with PPD, so I know it can be hard.

  5. That is a very intense story of a woman suffering from depression after the birth of her child. I can imagine that trying to connect to her child while feeling awful at the same time would be hard. This is very well written.

  6. I don’t know why but I was surprised when it was a littl boy that had hit his mom and yet they do it all the time. What changes though is how we feel at the moment we get hit. Therein lies the potent consequence of PPD- its the lens through which you feel and sense everything.

    Without reading stories like this you don’t realize how completely gripping PPD is! How all consuming it is.

    It’s almost like a physical attacker – and I would not have thought any of this, or realized any of this

    • Hi Michal! It’s good to hear from you hello! Thank you. This is a wonderful compliment on the story. You’re absolutely right; PPD (or any mental illness) distorts the lens through which we view every day experiences, and can sometimes turn them into something much more menacing or overwhelming than they truly are.

  7. WOW wow wow! i am so so amazed and inspired by your journey. thank you for having the awesome courage to share it. Fiction fridays are an amazing campaign and the message you’re helping to spread is so important. #madlove and #madrespect to you

  8. That was quite a story. I can only imagine what these mommas are going through and my heart aches for them. I hope we show more support to women who are going through this.

  9. Here I am thinking I’ll be reading a fake story.. but everything about that tore my heart apart. To know first-hand that, that actually happens. I’m so sad! I’m crying! It was such a powerful write up. It was like a punch in the gut..I felt everything! PPD effects one more than mentally..it changes everything about them. Thank you!

    • I’m sorry Maria, I was not trying to upset you! I know you are struggling a lot already, although sometimes seeing your experience reflected in fiction can be good, even if it’s upsetting initially. Hopefully? <3

    • Thank you! I’m glad my story gave you some insight into parenting with mental illness. I do have PTSD and depressive symptoms, but this piece is actually a work of fiction. If you want to read a REAL story about parenting with PPD, you should check out Maria’s story, which I lined in the post as well. Thanks for commenting!

  10. I feel you, I’m suffering in postpartum Depression 2 years ago when I gave Birth so glad that I move on with the support of my family and friends.

    • Angela, I am glad too that you had a good support system. It’s such an important part of recovery, from any mental illness. If you ever want to share your story here, the opportunity is just an e-mail away <3 bettymama206@gmail.com

  11. Having two young kids myself, I can sort of relate my wife’s post partum experience to Cindy’s. Sometimes I think that there are a lot of emotions mixed into a new mother and there are a lot of things to deal with. My advice is to provide as much support as possible.

    • Thanks Laura! You may want to check your computer’s google fonts configuration if my body font is showing up as something unclear when you view it; it’s a pretty standard easy-to-read font 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! Any help with the fundraiser is much appreciated; shares, or something small like 10 bucks can really add up in a big way if enough people do it!

  12. This was moving. I suffered ppd with my first daughter and although it was incredibly brief, as health care professionals spotted the signs and helped me really quickly, it still terrified me. I was so worried about suffering again with my second pregnancy but luckily didn’t. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Nay I’m so glad your PPD was caught early and that you had support. Early intervention so important. I’m betting it had a role in the fact that you didn’t develop it with your second child? If you would ever like to write a guest post about what helped you recover from PPD, I would be so happy and honored to host it here. PPD is a really important topic and I think that could be really helpful. It’s only an e-mail away if you would ever like to! bettymama206@gmail.com

  13. I looooove fiction fridays! You’ve inspired me to open up to fiction more! I love it but never think to write much fiction. I appreciate how you shed light on real important issues. Great read

  14. Betty, that was very powerful and got my creative juices flowing.
    I will be reaching out to you soon to get more info on a guest post opportunity on your blog.
    Sharing on Pinterest.

    • Thank you Angel; I’m glad to help you get inspired, and I would love to talk to you about guest posting. Also if you’re interested in the Fiction Fridays, feature, this one is closed, but the current contest prompt is in the post titled “A Gathering of Geniuses.” It’s about satire!

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