Tag Archive | birth poems

Two Birth Poems

I shared these on my Facebook page recently too and as long as I was updating my birth quotes, I thought I’d post the poems as well. They could be good for a mother blessing or blessingway ceremony or just to print up for a mother preparing to give birth, to to one who has just given birth, or to a birthworker (another favorite birthing poem is posted here):

Being Born

by Carl Sandburg

Being born is important
You who have stood at the bedposts
and seen a mother on her high harvest day,
the day of the most golden of harvest moons for her.

You who have seen the new wet child
dried behind the ears,
swaddled in soft fresh garments,
pursing its lips and sending a groping mouth
toward nipples where white milk is ready.

You who have seen this love’s payday
of wild toiling and sweet agonizing.

You know being born is important.
You know that nothing else was ever so important to you.
You understand that the payday of love is so old,
So involved, so traced with circles of the moon,
So cunning with the secrets of the salts of the blood.
It must be older than the moon, older than salt.


Ordinary Miracle

by Barbara Kingsolver

I have mourned lost days
When I accomplished nothing of importance.
But not lately.
Lately under the lunar tide
Of a woman’s ocean, I work
My own sea-change:
Turning grains of sand to human eyes.
I daydream after breakfast
While the spirit of egg and toast
Knits together a length of bone
As fine as a wheatstalk.
Later, as I postpone weeding the garden
I will make two hands
That may tend a hundred gardens.

I need ten full moons exactly
For keeping the animal promise.
I offer myself up: unsaintly, but
Transmuted anyway
By the most ordinary miracle.
I am nothing in this world beyond the things one woman does.
But here are eyes that once were pearls.
And here is a second chance where there was none.


(hat tip to Birth True for posting the Kingsolver poem—Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors, but I had never read the poem before seeing it on the Birth True blog.)

When birth doesn’t go as planned…

Some time ago I was talking to a mother whose birth hadn’t gone as planned. She said that she knew that she needed a cesarean, but that she also knew she had missed out on a “very cool experience in life.” I think it is definitely possible to accept the need for a cesarean, while still honoring/recognizing the profound experience of giving birth vaginally. I also think it is possible to acknowledge the magnitude of becoming a mother, regardless of the what happened with the birth–having a baby is a big deal no matter what! Though I’m obviously a huge advocate of natural childbirth, I truly believe that cesareans are often an act of personal courage. I also think that all births are rites of passage and are profound transformations and initiations into motherhood. So, though while some women may have missed out on the sense of personal power that often accompanies a natural birth, they’ve all taken significant and meaningful journeys of their own.

Then, I came across a poem by an anonymous writer in the book Open Season. It reminded me in part of my thoughts above.

For Those of Us Who “Failed”

And what about us who “failed”?

The ones whose birthings were not the finest hour

of their womanhood?

The ones who did not defy all medical intervention?

Those who have no heroic defiant story to tell?

Where do we fit in?

We can’t all be the ones that change the system,

but are we less a part of the sisterhood of those

who have given birth?

To those that have shone at the hours of birth

remember those of us who have not.

Will we, like the Vietnam vets, be recognized

too little and too late?

We experienced giving birth too.

Less nobly than some maybe,

but a noble experience nonetheless.

You say you honor choices.

Can you really honor mine?

I will always honor the process which

brought forth flesh of my flesh.

I honor your births too.

Can you ever honor my experience, or will I

forever be a part of your statistics on

the way things shouldn’t be?

Remember me.

Timing Poem

I recently finished reading Teaching Natural Birth. In it, the author shares a poem called Timing, by Anne Clark. I haven’t read it anywhere else and a google search didn’t turn it up, so I wanted to share it here. I especially liked the closing paragraph.


by Anne Clark

Some people live life at fast and furious rates.

It’s the fast-food burger, the instant photo, the 12-hour birth.

Some thoughts that life, children and birth cannot be hurried:

A baby’s needs and wants are the same.

Meet the cries for dependence in a toddler, and a year later you’ll rarely have him on your lap.

Push him from your breast, out of your bed before he’s ready, and as an adult he’ll be on your lap, or worse, lost.

Some thoughts when my first couple asked me to provide labor support:

I should have paid them for the experience.

Hours of labor; a tender soul slow to yield to the pressure of insistence; a novice support person petrified by the intensity of it all; a center in myself created for the needs of this mother and father and baby.

To the mother, gently suggested, no rush, you’re fine, feel your baby, he’s strong. Let him come.

Mothers deliver their own babies.

My waiting hands caught him, a living, flowing, glistening sunbeam.

Forever hooked on Birth.

And from that day determined to give up anything instant (the hamburgers were agony.)

Delivery is drugged, controlled, guilt producing, hurried.

Birth is natural, forgiving, unhurried.

As a teacher of natural childbirth I try to teach the difference between Birth and delivery. Any woman can be delivered of her baby. It is up to us, the natural childbirth educators, to elicit the deep-down birthing knowledge that every woman possesses and to enourage patience in a natural process that, like life and children, cannot be hurried.