I have stories of labor and pain,
The ice chips and a forced natural birth.
Stretch marks in places insane,
Every one of them a mark of worth.
I can tell you about transition,
And pushing … just depends on position,
Or drugs, if you get a nice nurse.
But when I think of the absolute worst,
It’s not my story about giving birth.
The grocery store where the clerk did see,
I’d left that mother wristband on me.
Just after I was released …
And she said, “Oh! You’ve just had a baby!”
But, there was no baby with me.
The looks and the stares when I went back to school,
My stomach was flat, but the comments were cruel.
And the waiting for pictures, the sorrow inside,
Walking out of history with tears in my eye.
The birthdays I spend locked up in my room,
Singing to my son a sad, silent tune.
I wear my swimsuit when summer arrives
But the pale marks on my tummy and thighs
Are only reminders of what I’ve lost inside.
These stories of labor and birth,
I would be quick to trade.
For they do not carry the worth,
Of a mother who’s able to say;
“I took our son to the park today!”
So yes, I have these stories to tell,
And these marks that I wear so well.
I take pride when “I’m a birthmom,” is my reply,
But when I think of the parents with my child,
I cannot lie … it’s the tears, not the story, you’ll find in my eye.
I cannot tell your stories,
Of home study and paperwork.
I do know there is no glory,
In treatments that painfully hurt.
I have not spent the countless hours
With attorneys and all their power.
I do not know your tears, but that they exist,
Or the stories you would trade,
Just for that first goodnight kiss.
Or the first time you took the baby out,
And the comments you know all about.
The waiting, the crying, the labor of your own.
Each of us bear separate marks,
Eternal tellings of both love and pain.
But which is harder to explain?
Why I have these stretch marks,
Or how you could be so thin?
How to share the deepest parts,
Of when motherhood begins?
Is there difference in our story,
The labor, so much the same.
To each of us the glory,
Even if it comes with different names.