“The Stranger Who Got Me Pregnant”

“The Stranger Who Got Me Pregnant”

Logo for Literary Mama, an online literary journal featuring work about motherhood.

January 2022

This was a mistake, I told myself. 

I’d been ritually repeating that phrase for the eight weeks I’d been pregnant, as the morning sickness became increasingly unbearable. Did cancer patients feel like this, I wondered, as though their bodies had been hijacked by malignant cells? Immediately ashamed of the thought, I still couldn’t escape the feeling that I’d been invaded by a 1.23 cm thing with two arm buds and a pumping heart. The yolk sac I saw on the first ultrasound, attached to a roundish nub the doctor said was the baby’s head, looked like a halo. 

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“My Two-Year Old Bites and Hits. But That Doesn’t Make Him a Bully.”

“My Two-Year Old Bites and Hits. But That Doesn’t Make Him a Bully.”

Elephant Journal logo

My Two-Year Old Bites and Hits. But That Doesn’t Make Him a Bully.

October 11, 2018

Sam’s my second child, and he’s a tornado. He walked at 10 months and climbed the bunk-bed ladder a few weeks later. He’s physical and strong-willed, much more so than our older son, Leo, who’s 9. Leo never hit anyone except sometimes me. By the time he was 3, his verbal skills were sharp, and if Leo got whacked by his friends, often he had provoked it by needing to have the last word. But distracted parents on the playground don’t always see the lead-up. They raise their heads when a blow is landed, and the hitter is instantly labeled: That’s the bad kid, we all think. Or, perhaps: That’s the bad parent.

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“In Praise of Mindful Birthing”

“In Praise of Mindful Birthing”

elephant journal logo on susiemeserve.com

In Praise of Mindful Birthing

September 5, 2017

So many things went wrong during the birth of my son Leo eight years ago that the obstetrician who delivered him described our experience as being like that scene at the end of Return of the Jedi, when the Millennium Falcon just manages to fly out of the Death Star before it explodes.

In other words, we made a very narrow escape.

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“Why I Keep a Folder of All My Rejection Letters”

“Why I Keep a Folder of All My Rejection Letters”

Article by Susie Meserve in Girlboss

Why I Keep a Folder of All My Rejection Letters

September 5, 2017

Maybe it’s cliche to say that the rejection slip is a great metaphor for life and the many times a day we hear “no”—from a boss, a crush, a loan officer, a blood test, a judge. That we choose to seek out more rejection than life already hands us—I marvel at our particular brand of masochism.

But I get, now, why I’ve held onto that folder. It doesn’t chide me that I’m not working hard enough; it reminds me how hard I’ve worked already. And it’s testimony to my growth, too. An editor’s words don’t slay me like they used to. The yeses come more frequently now. It took fifteen years, but my poetry manuscript recently got accepted.

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“How I Silenced that Voice in My Head”

“How I Silenced that Voice in My Head”

Elle logo on susiemeserve.com

How I Silenced that Voice in my Head

March 4, 2015

Two years ago, I went through a phase that felt suspiciously like a mid-life crisis. I could no longer find joy in my husband, our three-year old son, or my work. I felt like the entire world was at war, and that I was powerless to do anything about it. Despair over not having published the book I’d been writing for six years pressed down on me all the time. I couldn’t get pregnant, either—we had been trying for fifteen months—and this failure took me into the darkest depths of self-loathing. On the surface, my life was busy and full. But I felt this immense pressure, as if in my efforts to strive for something called “balance,” I was just barely managing to stay upright.

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