For All Women Present

What have I given away that I should I have kept for myself?

This question is a trap for mothers everywhere. In fact, it’s the sort of question non-parents would ask a mother. And then — when she replies something like “myself?”– they respond with a sweet pat on the back.

I’d like to remind all woman present that even if you aren’t a mother, you can’t subtract yourself from being one … that is, from being the possibility of being one, of having to deal with the cycle of motherhood every month, dealing with the cast offs of ova and the womb — and of Disney too with all of its ideas of who you should or shouldn’t be flexed into teeny tiny waists and bulged into enormous eyeballs.

None of us — not even those woman hating men — will ever get the chance to exit this world without entering it through a mother — the narrow squeeze of the birth canal, the long years of sheer terror love and language development, then the longer years of blaming and shaming and broken promises to call.

It’s a rat’s maze and it doesn’t matter which path you take– eventually you hit the wall of womanhood where you face yourself (and probably someone else) and have to scale the mother-will-I questions someone (or you) is asking.

Or in any case you’ll just plain have to lie there in the shit your body has handed you: the cervical cancer, the infertile eggs, the possibility of Down’s Syndrome, the possibility of ADHD if you adopt, the endometriosis, the cysts, the years of  perimenopause, the decade of hot flashes, the drug they prescribe that you discover is made from mare urine, the vaginal atrophy, and ultimately the hard truth of the myth of female disappearance which appears in your life on the flip side of the realization that when you are a woman you were never really there to begin with.

Day 22 of 30 Day Challenge from Poet Jen Harris and Writing Workshop Kansas City.

Prompt: What have you given away to others that you should have kept for yourself?