My yoga instructor read this poem to my prenatal yoga class while I was pregnant with Nora. I loved it. I still love it. I even quoted the poem on a page of Nora's baby book.
It is inspiring, and at the same time, makes me reflect on my own birth experience and I feel defeated for not being able to have the type of birth I dreamt of. My birth was not empowering, in fact quite opposite. Words that come to mind for me are: Unnecessary. Premature. Belittling. Helpless. Abrupt...
In the past two years, I have grown from a girl who thought birth and anything related to it was gross to a woman who feels passionate about women's rights in birthing and the over-medicalized process it has become. Women shouldn't have to grieve their birth experiences; but I did - I am. It makes me angry every time I think about it. I want to help other women have the birth they long for because the guilt, sorrow, and and disappointment doesn't go away just because the baby was healthy. This poem is a strong representation of the empowerment that was once (and should still be!) embraced by mothers, and I couldn't have said it better myself.
To My Daughters
I’ll tell you about power:
We are born with the potential for every daughter we will ever have
embedded like pearls in the dark flesh or our ovaries.
You were already there, in me,
While I was yet curled within my mother, as she was, inside my great-grandmother;
each mother birthing her grandchildren
through her pelvis,
ivory cradles protecting secret worlds
within our own seas,
worlds of fierce hearts and minds beyond knowing.
Is there a greater power than holding the entire
universe in your belly?
All of Creation? What about our own galaxies pouring forth?
The summoning of all that is love
And alive into our very breasts, our marrow,
Our coursing blood, and luminous milky way
So bright it blinds, with all the power and force of life,
heaven meeting earth, giving to those worlds we hold,
That we see in the irises of our daughters’ eyes