Mar/Apr 2018 • Vol. XL No. 2 Nonfiction |

Forest of Feelings

I'm worried about my daughter's vagina. At her birth I hold and nurse her for twenty minutes before I realize I haven't seen it yet. "Has anyone confirmed she's a girl?" I ask the room. This is a home birth. This is a bedroom. Aside from my husband, there are no other men present; it's me, the midwives, my friend, my sister, and my mother. We have vaginas and opinions about them. I laugh and unwrap the receiving blanket. My baby's vagina looks swollen. It's not a demure baby vagina. I feel bad, but no one seems worried, so I try to hide my feelings. I remember my son's testicles were really swollen at birth. Like a big (little) red hot air balloon. I wasn't worried about them. I keep imagining my daughter trying to fit in at parties. Not because of her vagina, but because she is female. Laughing at a guy's joke when it isn't funny. Having bad sex. It makes me so sad. I never imagined this for my son. I've imagined him being an asshole to a girl in college, not making a commi

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