What’s been whispered in the aisles of grocery stores, and over glasses of wine between women, is now brought forward into the bright air of poems: this is the story of how I gave birth. Moments of fear, stories of deep loss, gratitude for those who help, surprise at one’s own body: the women telling these stories share honestly what it’s like to be at the center of one of the most powerful human experiences.
Poet Emily Wall began collecting birth stories after the birth of her third child, Lucy. She realized that women were always quietly sharing their stories—in living rooms with a mug of tea, or whispered at the preschool playground. She saw the intensity with which women listened to each other’s stories. They were shared, remembered, retold, but not collected, not treated as the art form they are. Wall began asking for, and collecting birth stories: women sent her emails, handed her their journals, and recorded their own voices. She collected stories from a lesbian couple, a story from an indigenous father who is fighting for his language, and a story from a grandmother. Some of the stories are about difficult and painful births: a woman who had a miscarriage, a woman unable to get pregnant. And some of the stories are beautiful: a birth in water that happened exactly as the mother dreamed it would. Wall has taken these stories and shaped them into poems, and then into this collection, offering the reader a look into the story that women, for centuries, have been quietly sharing with each other.
Published by Red Hen Press