You are not supposed to understand
What it is to be a mother
Until you become one.
The world is full of mothers
Desperate to tell you so.
Mothers who speak of their children
In radiant capital letters
And never run out of adjectives
To describe the perfection
Of their progeny.
You are not expected to celebrate
Being of barren stock.
You are to submit to being pitied.
Any protestations you may make
About the happiness of your sorry state
Are met with shaking heads and pitying smiles.
How can you possibly know?
The chance to be yourself,
Go anywhere, do anything, for a lifetime
Is seen as just making the best of things.
I have walked the world on my own terms,
Seen the price that others have paid
For someone else’s happiness.
I have heard the cries of the childless
As they rail against the unfairness of the world.
A world that didn’t allow them
The motherly martyrdom
Of living out their hopes
Through someone else.
Someone who is building their own life.
I don’t have it in me to be a mother.
I don’t have the generosity
To submit to the needs of someone else
And take second place in my own life.
I am not strong enough to allow someone else
To grow and prosper at my expense.
I am a solitary soul, made to fly alone,
Created to walk the world serenely
Ploughing a single furrow
Which others may plant out.