The Poetry of Motherhood: Bittersweet

When I was little, I wanted to be a poet. I wrote very bad poems (one was an ode to a petunia, from memory), and even worse poems when I was a teenager. Poetry escaped me once I entered the pragmatic world of medicine, and even more when I became a mother. Yet there is something inescapably poetic about motherhood, or the experience of being a parent overall. There are many times when I experience moments of what could only be described as bliss with my children, and this seems to be magic, or at least, art.

I found a handful of sentimental poems on my laptop, written when my first child was a young toddler. I’m sharing this one with you, as it’s especially poignant today as I nurse a sick toddler, her younger brother. There is something about toddlers that I love – something sweet and free, and I have written about this previously. In amongst the grating tantrums and whining is something that makes every parent wistful, pensive, and pause a little in their busy day, knowing that this is the stuff that memories are made of. I wish I could bottle it so that we could just sniff it in our old age. But perhaps I shall write poems about it instead.


I’ve never loved anyone quite the way I have loved you.

You give all of yourself to life, and ask for so little –

a cup of Milo, to play with the recycling, to climb the sofa over and over again.

In the cosy mornings, as I make us both porridge,

as I see you in your highchair with your bib on and spoon at the ready,

I have a moment of profound completeness,

a sense of experiencing a brief flicker of the purest beauty,

tenuous and leaving the tiniest ache

which reminds me that one day all these too will be memories.


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