Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Considerations for my Unborn Child (A Poem)

Considerations for my Unborn Child

I see the way my dog looks at me and think:
you deserve to know the love of a dog on your face 
and how fall smells and cider tastes. Mostly, 
you should know how your father will make you his life.

For you, I want all of it:
how the day seems full of anything at sun up,
the honks of geese overhead that always make me laugh.
You should sing songs you've heard in showers
 or in cars going a little too fast toward a boy 
who needs you a little too much.

We want you here with us someday, but still 
I can't help thinking you don't deserve my hurting limbs 
or the pills lined like soldiers each morning. 
Pain has no place in you, but still I can't bear the going without; 

I want to know you like I've never wanted anything.

                                                                                                Maya Klauber

This month I published an interview with my friend and mommy-to-be, Jodi McKee. We spoke about the experience of being pregnant and chronically ill, and I admired her willingness to talk openly about her fears, her joys, and her hopes for the future. With this in mind, it seemed like a good time to share the poem above.  Although I'm only 25 and motherhood is far away, a girl can still dream. I often wonder what my baby might look like. Will he or she have John's eyes or mine? When I see John playing with a child, I can't help but imagine the kind of father he'd be. I picture the trips we'd take with our little family, or the traditions we'd start. 

As usual, chronic illness complicates my daydreams. As a young woman living with constant pain, I have my fair share of concerns. Will I pass these conditions on to my children? Could I live with myself if that happened? Since I wouldn't be able to take my medications during pregnancy, how intense would my pain become? Would pregnancy impact my health long-term? Would I physically be able to care for my newborn? What kind of mother could I be while living with chronic pain? And the list goes on.

"Considerations For My Unborn Child" wasn't an easy poem to write, but it was an important one. Something about speaking directly to my child whom I may never know was intensely emotional. The truth is, even if I were perfectly healthy, there is no guarantee when it comes to motherhood. Do I want to be a mother one day? I believe so. Do I think it would be wonderful to have my own child? Yes. But I also know that families come in all shapes and sizes, and that love can conquer just about anything. John and I will cross that bridge when we get to it, but in the meantime, thank you for reading. As always, I'd love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave comments. 



  1. beautiful, my. we all know you would be a loving mother and perfect mother for what child may come into your life. i now still have many of these questions. we haven't had the boys tested for hla-b27 because there is nothing we could do now. i didn't have the time before becoming a mother to plan or know what my future held. andrew happened without planning and thus i know he was meant to be. when i did become pregnant with both of my kids it was so much about the pregnancy and infancy rather than parenthood--much like one can become absorbed with the wedding rather than the marriage. now i really focus on more long-term issues--will i still be around to help with homework, to help him choose a college, will i be able to listen to him as he falls in or out of love, will his experience with a "sick" mom be a positive experience that fosters deeper empathy in him or will it place a burden on him so he has to grow up faster than most children....? the list goes on and on...

  2. Beautiful poem and clearly from the heart. Thank you.

    I'm off to read your interview with Jodi.

  3. So lovely. Years ago I felt compelled to write a little something to my unborn child:

    I'm Coming

    Breaths yet to be taken
    Giggles lying in wait

    I hear you faceless one
    I smell your joy

    I will disappoint you
    But I will love you more

  4. Betsy: Thank you for your faith in me - it means the world. Also, I thought this was so interesting: "when i did become pregnant with both of my kids it was so much about the pregnancy and infancy rather than parenthood--much like one can become absorbed with the wedding rather than the marriage." I never thought about it that way. You are an incredible mother and I look to you as inspiration, especially on those days when I feel parenthood is impossible.

    Joanna: Thanks so much for reading, and for your kind words :)

    Jasmine: Your poem was gorgeous, and I am so grateful that you decided to share it.

  5. Hi Maya-
    I have had similar thoughts and fears. I not only wonder if I will pass this onto my kids, I wonder if I have the capability of caring for a child when I can barely make it through my own day sometimes. I am 99% sure I want to adopt if I do decide to have a child. I work with children, and I have found they definitely don't have to be biologically related to me for me to care or love one. I have also seen soooo many children in horrible family circumstances and my heart just breaks over that. For me, I would feel most noble with this choice. Hopefully someday I can make it happen! But I only want to do that if my health is stable, which it is not right now. Maya, I think you would make a wonderful mother and I believe you will know in your heart what is the right decision for you. Thank you for putting into words the many thoughts I've had on this issue.