‘Second Day’, International Women’s Day

‘Second Day’

That blood crusted crown, soft bone plates, pushed by birthing into cone-like shape.
The arbitrary beeping and calling throughout the ward; the scuffling of nurses shoes
announce their arrival –
I often pretended to be asleep when they peeked through the door from the corridor,
except when I didn’t, when I waved one in, or flagged one down in passing
as I pointed to my screaming baby in his plastic cradle on wheels,
“He’s still hungry and I’ve nothing left to give.”

I remember one nurse bringing the bottle of formula:
she stood not facing me, but to the side, as if to deflect
a perceived defeat
I might have been projecting.
She jutted out her arm, from a distance, and handed it over.

Kind words may have been said, I do not recall.
And body language is hard to dispute,
As is the silence of a finally full baby
and the relief this brings; a clearing of air.
So in retrospect, I harbour no ill-feelings:
I’d had another child before and knew this was only the second day.
My milk was still on its way, as are rainstorms conjured
out of pressure and warmth,
and I would make it through.

But other mothers are not as lucky, and I can only imagine
how they must feel.
Which is a shame, to be made to feel anything
other than extraordinary.

For International Women’s Day.

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Karen Andrews is the creator of Karen Andrews. This is one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country and is a two-time finalist in the Best Australian Blogs competition. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Is an exercise junkie (when she finds the time).


  1. John ( aka @erlichcartman) says

    Beautiful .. Places me back in the room where we welcomed our children .. So long ago/only yesterday and my complete adoration of my wife and her ability to bring forth life!

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