Saturday, 9 July 2016

Not Your Mother

This blog has been pretty dormant for a while as I've been dealing with a lot of upheaval, both at home and at work. But I could not let this news go unacknowledged.

"Andrea Leadsom 'says she is better suited to be Prime Minister because she has children'"

This is nothing new. Women without children have been vilified for centuries, burnt at stakes and accused of being less than women. Last summer, at a staff picnic, I overheard a colleague stating that it was impossible to experience true love if one wasn't a mother. About that time, I wrote this poem. I'm no creative mind, and it's probably just more of that dark emo stuff I wrote as a teenager, but I'm publishing it for the first time.

Anyone who thinks I don't know true love has never seen my family and the love that is given freely in abundance. Nor have they spent a moment in my classroom.

Although I am not your mother

Although I am not your mother, I have birthed every one of you.
For years I have incubated you in my room.
My womb.
Like a foetus, you were magnificent parasites –
Taking what you needed from me in order to thrive.
Not O2 or C6H12O6, or even Ca2+, but knowledge and passion.
And I have willingly offered up more of me as the caecilian lets her hatchlings tear chunks of her skin off.

Although I am not your mother (I never carried your bodies inside me for nine months), I continue to bear the burden of your hopes for the future.
When you cry, big howling sobs of despair, it is the call of the bear cub, and my instinct is to run to you, protect you, fight to the death to ensure your survival.
I want to shelter you under my wings, or keep you in a safe place where predators cannot seek you out and torment you.
I want to take your poor shattered hearts and spirits, broken by people, places and pathogens –
Sew them back together using my anatomy books.

Although I am not your mother, birthday cards and memories of carrot cake say otherwise.
I feel your pain as my own, and revel in your joy.
I am so proud of you all;
I'm your biggest fan.
I talk excitedly about your successes to anyone who will listen.

Although I am not your mother and my DNA will die with me, I pass on much more.
You do not have my mitochondria, but you have my energy.
And energy can never be destroyed.

What say you, Andrea Leadsom? Do I have a stake in the future?

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