Thursday, 10 November 2016

Wake up call

This poem captures the first moment I realised I didn't have a clue about motherhood, it happened on the second day of my first son's life.

I had a tiny tears, little sisters,
I looked after nieces.
I didn't need the books,
brushed off advisory looks,
it would be different for me!

First night, battle worn,
he slept like a baby.
I just stared at him, triumphant smile.
I did it!
This isn't too bad.

Second night, he was fussy.
They said 'jot down when you feed him and for how long'.
I used the back of a congratulations card.
3am, the card is full.
Front and back.
Nipples raw, sea legs, saggy skin,
babe in arms, I take baby steps to the desk.
'Excsue me, he's feeding constantly and he won't sleep.'
'Yes love, that's what babies do'.

Tiny tears was bollocks.
I phoned my mum to say sorry.


I had a great time at Cathy Crabb's book launch - Mumb, an exploration into the darker side of motherhood, at Manchester Central Library. It's a great collection of poetry, available at Flapjack Press. I had a guest spot and it prompted me to write a couple of poems. I've never written about motherhood before, I have two young children and think it's because I've been too knackered!

Passed down from generation to generation,
'They don't call it labour for nothing.
It's the hardest days work you'll do in your life".

My friend said not to worry,
the midwives had been so good with her.
Teaching her to breathe with the rhythm
of the waves of pain washing through her body.
Controlling the ebb,
breathing slowly through the flow.
'Just ask them' she said.

My time came,
reassured, expectant, vulnerable.
Blood red toilet, bright strip lights, eyes wide, mind tight, public.
I asked, 'please, can you show me some breathing techniques?'

She snapped 'You know how to breathe ALEX!'

I love the NHS and I'm pleased to say my second labour was brilliant, I think this midwife was having a bad day.