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the world of pregnancy and childbirth
has been boiled down to the white,
neurologically healthy babies
in pink and blue knit caps.

“that one,” says the tearful father.
“she’s beautiful,” says the nurse
while the mother rests.

but why is it
that the default image of motherhood
is a white middle-class couple with a picket fence
and a golden retriever?

“hey honey,
let’s postpone that cruise to the caribbean
and make a baby.”

what about the prostitutes
who get pregnant?
what about the girls in africa
who carry their rapist’s babies?

what about the babies left on the firehouse steps?
what about the welfare mothers
who run
because they can’t pay the hospital fees?
who have heroin tracks on their arms
(like stitches that can’t hold them together)
where the patient bracelet is snapped on?

what about the 500,000 american children
waiting to get adopted?
what about miscarriages and women
who can never have kids?

we preach for the lives of the unborn,
but what about the lives of the living?
what about the teenager at the abortion clinic?
is a life tainted because of how it's been lived?

how much are we worth?

i'll tell you,
there are hundreds of thousands of voices
screaming
behind the pictures of smiling mothers
holding sleeping babies on pamphlets,

silenced by hands on swollen stomachs,
by the coffee-stained smiles saying,
“he’s gonna be a bruiser.
i feel her kicking.

you two are very lucky.”

voices of europe and asia,
of ghettos and girls sleeping on sidewalks
and cheap motels
and fourteen year olds sold on amsterdam storefronts
and bloodshot eyes in wal-marts
and women sobbing in police stations.

voices of legend, they say,
because what is a voice
if we can't hear it?

(if somebody screams and nobody is around to care,
do they make a sound?)

a child is born every three seconds
and one of them
will be a mistake.
millions of errors everyday,
every week,
errors in judgement and morality and sobriety,
millions of accidents, of missed pills
of tipsy nights in cabo
of ecstasy, of alcohol
of incest
of rape.

a child is born once every three seconds
and they are the biggest lie people
will ever tell themselves.
Tocophobia: the fear of pregnancy and/or childbirth.
I personally fear neither.

This was an experimental piece - call it my nod to social justice. We're studying Piaget and Erikson in AP Psychology, and their theories about childhood got me wondering about what comes before. Obviously this piece got way off topic aswithallofmypieces, but! I'm still happy with the result.

May be doing a double-feature. (You'll know if I upheld this if you see another poem posted tomorrow.) I have one in the works but it needs refinement, and it's midnight and very newly Tuesday, so I'm not sure if I'll be getting to it now.

Also, surprise - I'll be submitting to some groups again. Hope you guys enjoy this one. :heart:

edit: I won a contest with this, you guys! :wow: Here's the journal announcement.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconoviedomedina:
oviedomedina Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014
This is it. Thank you for writing leaps and bounds above nearly all of us DA poets.
Magnificent work.
Reply
:icondreamlandtheories:
dreamlandtheories Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014
I love this. People keep telling me "oh, you'll change your mind" "you just have to meet the right guy" "you're just saying that now" even though I've been saying I don't want kids for almost 10 years. It's going to take a lot more than some man or a few years to change my mind. And even if I do end up pregnant, I'm lucky enough to be in a social standing with certain options for me to choose from. Not everyone gets that luxury. Thank you for saying this.
Reply
:iconwriterofthesky55:
WriterOfTheSky55 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my God.
You've blown my mind.
OH MY GOD
YOU'VE BLOWN MY MIND.
There are no words. You said it all.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner May 3, 2014   Writer
Thank you. I've been trying to incorporate my political beliefs into my poetry as much as possible, and the result is always so...poignant. 
Reply
:iconvallestin:
Vallestin Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Being male, I cannot personally relate to this, but when I read it I think of one of my friends who had to have an abortion after a little mistake she made with a man she didn't know, she was sixteen.  I feel for her and all the other girls out there. This is an amazing poem.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014   Writer
Thank you. :heart:
Reply
:iconepiphanyblue:
EpiphanyBlue Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014
I have been reading a number of your poems. I find your works eloquent and striking. Much of the best poetry- the stuff that moves me most anyhow- seems to master this paradox, raw and refined at the same time, and that's what I've found here.
I want to respond to the different pieces, want to say something each time, but likely as not I feel that there is nothing I could, that nothing is left, only- wow.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2014   Writer
:blush: You're too kind. At lot of my poetry isn't meant to be such - it's just thoughts that I spit out every so often. But I'm so flattered you think so highly of my work. Thank you very much. 
Reply
:iconraylaopal:
RaylaOpal Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Student General Artist

If someone asked me if I wanted a child when I'm older, I'd say "God no!" and that's because I'd rather adopt a 'mistake'. I guess since I'm considered a 'mistake', and I associate with other fellow 'mistakes'. Meh.


I absolutely love this piece of literacy, you have just put my exact thoughts of childbirth into words, and that's a very special talent.

Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014   Writer
Thank you. :love: That's very sweet.
Reply
:iconakiishiori:
AkiiShiori Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Do you have a certain trinket, or place, anything at all that gives you inspiration, or the feel to compose such beautiful words?
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014   Writer
I do not. Usually, the words just come to me out of the blue; my lecture notes are dotted with random phrases and stanzas I conjure off the top of my head, and sometimes I'll use a Sharpie my wrists or on the margin of a book I'm reading. That's sweet of you to find my words beautiful, though. :heart:
Reply
:iconakiishiori:
AkiiShiori Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome, hun. Bunny Emoji-09 (Heart) [V1] 
Reply
:iconthewolfcalls:
TheWolfCalls Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Student Writer
Sadly,to be honest, I fear.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014   Writer
That's nothing to be ashamed of, I assure you.
Reply
:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2013
Your words are always so truthful and brilliant.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2013   Writer
Thank you. :heart: I appreciate that.
Reply
:iconintroverted-ghost:
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013   Writer

I honestly wasn't sure if this piece was something I could enjoy to begin with. But as I read the emotion built and I was swallowed by it.

 

Beautiful, heartbreaking piece. Well done.

 

:clap:

Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2013   Writer
:bow: Thank you so much!
Reply
:iconintroverted-ghost:
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013   Writer
You're welcome! :heart:
Reply
:iconwrittenruse:
WrittenRuse Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013
I think this is a very beautiful, insperational piece. I really love it. You obviously put a lot of though into this.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013   Writer
Thank you very much. :heart:
Reply
:iconadilarain:
AdilaRain Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2013   Writer
I think about this all the time.

You wrote it beautifully.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013   Writer
Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconvanillaeridanus:
vanillaEridanus Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, then. This is certainly a unique piece of writing you have here. I thought it was wonderful, but never got the part at the end-- What do you mean, 'the biggest lie people will ever tell themselves'? Are you implying that their very existence is a lie, or something else? I also just love the question in parentheses. Do they really make a sound? Yes, I'd say-- Because eventually, someone who does care will come around to listen.

Wow, I actually sound positive and inspirational again~~ 
Llama Emoji 02 (Blush) [V1] 

Anyway...
I just hate how people make pregnancy sound so amazing and beautiful with all that shit about how it's creating a life or something. I mean, pregnancy is one of the most painful processes in the world. Really. There's actually nothing remotely 'beautiful' about it. Taking care of children is just even more stress, too. It just adds up. Also, with all of those heterosexual and homosexual stereotypes of the average 'perfect family' and then all that shit about gays being evil... I just don't tolerate it. To tell you the truth, I despise heterosexual couples. No offense if you're straight, just saying. Still, it's sad to live in a time where every couple has to be straight and have perfect kids and live in a perfect world. Seriously, it's just disappointing.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2013   Writer
People can only see the positives of childbirth, yet never the negatives. It's as you said: people make childbirth and pregnancy into the most beautiful processes in the world. And that's the lie.

I'm straight, but still young and childless. And I understand your hate. The majority of not only pregnancy, but this very country, is represented but straight white people because they're the "majority." Just because there are more of us doesn't automatically marginalize the pain and opinion of every other person.
Reply
:iconeremitik:
Eremitik Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2013
I am not trying to start an argument about the underlying meaning in this- I would just like to point out that after reading the poem, I also thought there was an inference of abortion as a way of solving this problem, much like ForsakenDream did. I have read the comments and thus your reply as to how that was not your intended meaning.
Quite possibly, the reason we took this piece that way might have to do with the fact that there does not currently seem to be any other way to solve this social dilemma- there may never be a solution- and how you focus on the negative aspect of pregnancy and childbirth.

Again, not trying to start an argument, just pointing out how the meaning of your work could be interpreted other than how you meant it to be.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2013   Writer
That's fine. I get that people interpret my work differently. 
Reply
:iconlovedoesnotexist:
LoveDoesNotExist Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Heavy shit! Do you want children though?
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013   Writer
For the moment, yes I do.
Reply
:iconlovedoesnotexist:
LoveDoesNotExist Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Better be careful with that. Can be nasty little buggers :P
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013   Writer
True (my parents will tell anybody that.) 
Reply
:iconlovedoesnotexist:
LoveDoesNotExist Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Now i don't know if i should make a funny comment about that or not.
Think I should remember I was one of those ugly pooingmachines too! :P
Reply
:iconevilangel642:
Evilangel642 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer

I have waited forever for someone to post something like this. My mother thinks I'm insane for not wanting to have children, but I want to see the world and travel and never live in the same place for more than a few years. Why would I , A. Put my dreams aside so I can have a baby and then be unhappy or even worse, B. Have a child and make her follow me all around the world, never having a real home or friends. Granted, I am not a poor girl on the streets or a young mother in Africa, but still, the stigma that 'if you don't want a baby, then you're wrong or selfish' drives me up a wall.

 

Beautiful work. Very powerful. Sorry for my little rant.

Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013   Writer
The idea that women are required to have children is sexist, too. I despise this attitude that all women want and must have children because, quote, "it's what you were created to do." Because, maybe some people missed the memo but, we're a tad bit more advanced than we were a hundred thousand years ago. You're not in the wrong for wanting to travel and have a life. You're not in the wrong for not wanting children, either. And all this bullshit "you'll change your mind" - again. Sexist. It's someone's way of insisting that you have to have babies, HOW COULD YOU NOT WANT THEM etc. etc.

And the rant was perfectly alright. Thank you. :heart:
Reply
:iconrandomcatsrfuntolove:
randomcatsrfuntolove Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful. Finally someone bringing up an issue worth listening to yet nobody seems to hear. You did a great job and I just love this! 
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013   Writer
Thank you so much! :love:
Reply
:iconetsu-s:
Etsu-S Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2013
"if somebody screams and nobody is around to care,
do they make a sound?"
i reaally love that part...it's amazingly awesome...and the rest is so accurate xD
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013   Writer
Thank you very much.
Reply
:iconxioaz:
Xioaz Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
*Claps ferousiously until hands fall off* I love you(r writings)
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013   Writer
I love you(r comment.) :heart: Thank you.
Reply
:iconjuniorel:
juniorel Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013   Writer
Wow. That's poignant. I was a mistake/unwanted child, too. I think a lot of people are, and we do tend to forget that. But I also think the answer to this poem's question is alarmingly simple.

but why is it
that the default image of motherhood
is a white middle-class couple with a picket fence
and a golden retriever?


Why? Marketing.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013   Writer
It's all about representation. How do we make having a baby look as good as possible? The truth isn't a big seller.
Reply
:iconavalanchepark:
avalanchepark Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013
really nice work - a strong statement of the real vs the media ideal

you could do one of these for all the images media hold up as ideal - we want to look at the ideal and believe it could be true, hope that it will be true for us, trying to discern what path we have to take to make it so and trying to put the cruel vagueries of life that threaten it out of our minds.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013   Writer
Thank you. :) And it's the stigma that we need to be lied to. That lying is harmless if somebody - even if it's not who fell for the damn thing in the first place - gets some good out of it.
Reply
:icongotterdam16:
Gotterdam16 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2013  Student General Artist
you are SO TOTALLY ON POINT
man...
and they wonder why there's overpopulation
not every human was born to a perfect environment
and we keep making more and more and more
wow.
Nod I approve of this
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013   Writer
I can understand that people want children, but overpopulation is caused by other factors - lack of access to birth control or abortions. Lack of education. I also think that false advertising motherhood is so harmful because children are a lifelong commitment and so many people take parenthood for granted, along with the huge margin for error that comes with it.
Reply
:iconttbloodlusttt:
ttbloodlusttt Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2013
I've said these exact words to people so many times.
Every time I hear a seemingly 'perfect couple' talk about
trying for a boy this time, or a girl. I cringe thinking of all
the children in the world subjected to the agony of every
single things you touched upon here.

I'm glad you wrote this. If not for the shock factor than
for the blatant truth regardless of affection on the
general reader. Once read, it cannot be unread.

Thanks for sharing this incredibly honest, point driven
piece.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013   Writer
No problem. Thank you for reading. :heart:
Reply
:iconttbloodlusttt:
ttbloodlusttt Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013
Well worth it!
Reply
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