Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

A Different Perspective

It’s the morning of my 35th birthday, and while I’m getting ready for our second childbirth class, I realize that for the first time ever, today I’m not thinking that today, 35 years ago, I was born. No. This morning, 34 weeks deep into pregnancy (that is, 3-7 weeks away from labor), what I’m thinking is that today, 35 years ago, my mom was giving birth to me. Joey congratulates me with a kiss and a hug, and asks me what I want for my birthday. Normally I would suggest some ideas for a present. Today, all I want is a good day.

My birthday goes on sin pena ni gloria. Except, this second class at the hospital feels a little rougher on the info factor. We discuss pain medication, episiotomies, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree tears, the painful recovery of the poor vagingo, and then we’re treated to a video illustrating what happens in a c-section surgery. The video doesn’t show the actual surgery; instead, it uses animation to show the incisions, pulling of muscles, etc. At some point the image — as cartoonish as it may be — is so brutally graphic that Joey and I explode in a burst of hysterical laughter. We’re at the very front of the room, and I hear from the back an apparently outraged masculine voice mumbling several times “that is not funny”. I want to turn to this guy and tell him “I know it isn’t, oh YOU, great sensitive man who won’t have to go through this ever in his life. Some times laughter is the only way to deal with pain”.

Mom and I

“Mom and I”. Watercolor by Maria Q. Stultz, May 1997.


  1. On , Joey wrote:

    Funny. I don’t remember that at all. Guess I was in another place with all that blood and gore. Yikes.

  2. On , marla wrote:

    This watercolor is truly breathtaking. This is your mom with you? Cause it could be you and your little one given the resemblence. Just digitally remove the earrings and the color of the frock and voila! Maria and little one.

  3. On , Maria wrote:

    Yeah… It’s my mom and I (about three months old).

    It would be neat to paint one exactly like this of me with Joaquin. But it will be a while before I can dedicate several hours of uninterrupted work to a watercolor. All throughout the pregnancy I thought I should be painting, taking advantage of these last months when I can take a full day or two to paint. If I ever paint again, I’ll have to change my method…

  4. On , Us wrote:

    Maria, that is a great watercolor. I don’t think I have ever seen it. Did you black out you birthday when I posted it in a comment?

  5. On , Maria wrote:

    Oh, thank you!
    Yes. I removed the actual date but left the rest of your comment.

  6. On , Us wrote:

    but, aren’t you posting your birthday now?