For the Daily Inklings prompt, Dark Nostalgia.


Maternity is a cruel place

the birthing institution

she who must be obeyed

the medicated functional machinery

that steals the deepest secret

and displays it on a screen

for the profane to pontificate.

It’s for your own good

they’d frown and say as if to an ingrate

and unfold my hands from their protective gesture

and peer inside

proclaiming loud and high what they had found.

I would have kept you secret

all of you

an idea of a child—mine

and not have some hard-eyed white coat

whisk and brisk smugly around my stricken bloat

and mouth

I know your baby better than you.

I remember with affection

the soft hands of midwives wiping brow

murmuring comfort

when the white coats had lost interest and gone to probe new secrets

easing my child from that final darkness

into the cool white world of joy and sorrow.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

32 thoughts on “Maternity”

      1. Yes indeed 💜💜 funnily enough it was when the men started to get involved that the childbed fever started to take hold. The men didn’t wash their hands!!

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