Why Do I Write: About Babies


When I write about things, it’s usually a ‘once and done’ kind of thing. I write about this mountain once, or this retreat in a couple stages, or this kind of relationship… I tend not to dwell on the same exact thing over and over again.

Unless that thing is babies.

Going over a lot of the things I’ve been writing lately, I realized that a good bit of them focus on children, children at mass being one of the constantly recurring images. Whether I am writing a reflection on Christmas or Easter, I tend to write reflections on the Christ Child rather than the man, Jesus. I’ve written more poems for and about my nieces and nephews than I have all of my lovers combined. It seems I would prefer to write about the beauty of a child’s eyes than ever look another adult in the eye, period. babies

It would be easy enough to write this off as my baby fever beginning to bleed into everything I do. I’m a twenty-two year old woman who is unmarried and itching to change that. I’ve had horrible bouts of depression where my body longs for a child, and could only really be placated by getting a pet (hence why I welcomed Seviper, my ball python, into my family. My precious, scaly little baby :3 ) I could pretend that this writing obsession with children is just a phase, or a fad, that I’ll grow out of, much like I grew out of writing about high school and college concerns, as soon as I have my own children and become tired of dealing with children all the time.

It would also be easy to excuse my baby-obsession on the fact that I work as a full-time nanny as my day-job. At the moment, I work with three boys, but most of my time is spent chilling out with the infant (who I’m pretty sure thinks of me as the red-headed food-and-fun machine). With so much of my time spent with children, it could just be a coincidence that my mind tends to be focused on children most of the time, right?

I honestly believe, however, that that would be denying one of the innermost truths of my being. Almost since the time I began even thinking about the word ‘vocation’, I always knew that I had been Created to become a mother. Every other pursuit of mine- poetry, dancing, social justice, faith, love, companionship, understanding- every little thing I do I do with my future children in mind. And this is not because I have raging baby fever that can be calmed, or that my vocation to be a mother would begin and end with the act of having and rearing my own flesh and blood. I was already becoming a mother when I was a child- in the way I saw things, in the way I reacted to things, and in the way I anticipated things. In my friendships, in my relationships, in my work… in everything I do I behave in such a way as to make myself a better mother; a better me in general. I’ve come to the realization that I write so much about children, with the imagery of children, because it is one of the main ways in which I see this world; through the eyes of a mother, in which I have the responsibility of a mother to everyone and everything in my vicinity. I am more compassionate when I view my enemy as someone else’s child. I am more patient when I think about my friends’ mother talking them through the situation that is vexing to me. I am quicker to pity, rather than despise, when I look at others through the eyes of their mother.

So it is only right that I would display this in the purest way that I ‘see’: through my writing, and especially my poetry. It is in my metaphors, in my dedication to the Holy Mother, in manipulating the imagery of my own mother, in writing indirectly to my future children, and love letters to the children of others. Everyone is somebody’s baby- as someone who believes in her own vocation as a mother, it is hard for me to see the world in any other light.

How does your vocation in life change the way you see? Whether you write or read, how are you affected?

Happy National Poetry Month!


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Since 1996, April has been designated by the Academy of American Poets as National Poetry Month! To celebrate, I’m going to challenge myself this year to write more poetry- at least one new original poem a day for the next thirty days. I’ve also recently bought two new poetry collections to read and will hopefully pick up more around Easter.

Some suggestions for my readers looking to celebrate this month:

  •  Participate in the 30 Day Poetry Challenge. Looking for inspiration or a little nudge? Their Facebook Page will be posting a new daily prompt every day for the month of April.

Visit your local library and take out enough collections from the poetry section to last you all month long. Read one a week, and you’ve read four new poets. Double it, and you’ll know eight more. Go for the goal and read a new poet every day- whether that’s through collections or looking up new modern poetry online. (Here’s a good place to start!)

Participate in some of Poets.org’s activities, such as the Poet-to-Poet Project for people in grades 3 through 12, and Poem in your Pocket Day  on April 4th for all ages.

Sign up for the e-mail newsletters from the Poets & Writers website. Stay in the loop with new poets, get prompts delivered to your inbox, find local poets and poetry outlets.

Participate in or go to a local open mic- these are often performed in coffeehouses or local bookstores. For a list of some of those readings in Colorado where I am, visit this website.

For my fellow Coloradeans, visit the Colorado Poets Center– there you can find a comprehensive list of poets near you, read poetry news from your own neighbors, and connect yourself to poets, whether you are a writer or a reader, who live in your own area.

 

Readers: What are your plans for celebrating National Poetry Month? Do you have any prompts to suggest for my own challenge?