Baby Fever x Motherhood
And I'm backkk!
For the past two or three years, I’ve been exploring motherhood in my writing, in my choreography but more specifically how the concept of motherhood shows up in my life and in the lives of young girls and other women. My journey into exploring motherhood began after hearing the song How Many Times by Eryn Allen Kane which then led to me asking my mother about what was her pregnancy was like. It didn’t even dawn on me that this was my first time asking her what it was like being pregnant with me because I just assumed that her experience was something joyful and easygoing. And that wasn’t the case.
So ever since then, I’ve viewed motherhood in a completely different light. The strength, the energy, everything it takes to be a mother, to conceive, to bring light into this world is something I can’t put into words.
However, I do want to shed light on how motherhood is forced down the throats of girls and women, especially from young. Maybe “force” is too strong of a word but that’s what it feels like. --- It’s always “wait till you become a mother, then you’ll understand” or “when are you going to give me some grandchildren?” This notion that we are only here to “pop put babies and hide the stretch marks” (in the words of Mahogony L. Browne) AND take care of the household is something that is ever so present in the lives of young girls and women. I think questions like these, amongst others, of course, place pressure on us, young girls/women, including myself. I think of how it shows up in our relationships whether it be romantic, platonic, or even sibling relationships. It sometimes feels like we’re trained from young to expect to become a mother, to take care of the household.
I say that to say motherhood in its entirety is something so complex I can’t even begin to fathom. And that’s just motherhood in general, not even taking into consideration what motherhood is like for black women, what it’s like for women who can’t get pregnant, or what it’s even like for women whose children no longer reside on this earth.
When I think of motherhood, I think of all the women in my life who have helped create and bring life into this world but also I can’t help but think of the alarming statistics for Black women. I can’t help but think of how the women who don’t want children are pressured into having conversations to explain their decisions. My body, my choice seems to go out the window when a woman says she does not want kids. And even so, I can’t help but think about the women who are actually pressured/coerced into having children. I can’t help but think about postpartum depression or young girls making decisions based on fear and shame.
I also think of myself, how at 18 years old my relationship with the concept of motherhood is already a confusing and complicated one. I think of how I might lose my child to gun violence, police brutality, or because some doctor won’t believe that my body feels pain. I question why I am even having conversations like these because is this even normal? But then I am reminded of how motherhood is always there, lingering in my consciousness, even when I think it’s not there. How it can be traumatic for some and peaceful for others. How some daughters have been turned into makeshift mothers for their younger siblings. How some men enter into relationships expecting their partner to be their mothers. How some people think abortions make women less of a mother. How everyone seems to have an opinion of motherhood but seems to forget who it affects most of all.
So I say all this to say: There is nothing wrong with having conversations about motherhood. I do think that the topic of motherhood should be approached with caution and care but above all empathy, especially when you don’t know how motherhood show’s up in a woman’s life (regardless of one’s age) and how it affects her. I also think that motherhood should not be forced upon a woman.
I do want to make one thing clear though, to the mothers out there, I see you and I appreciate everything ya’ll are doing. You all deserve your flowers.
But anyways that’s my two cents on the conversation of motherhood. So here's a draft of a new poem I'm working on.
That's it and that's all.
Words by Miah
Baby Fever Gone
black baby on instagram.
teeth coming in.
she smiling. wide. all gums.
she a bronze dimple goddess
and she know she cute.
here comes baby fever.
my uterus is tingling.
fuzzy butterflies floatin
it’s a familiar feeling
can’t quite describe the sensation but know
i refresh the page and a few scrolls later…
Ma’Khia Bryant. dead. no murdered.
Ma’Khia Bryant. sixteen. not woman but girl.
so say, girl. say, girl.
make sure you say, girl.
make sure they say, girl.
they want to adultify her
and just like that
baby fever gone.
my uterus has stopped tingling.
she gone too, just like Ma’Khia.
she done disappeared. retreated to the darkness
in this dark body.
the bible says be fruitful & multiply.
i don’t want to be fruitful. i don’t want to multiply.
i do not want to carry a baby inside this body of mine if
all they gon have is a short-lived life.
tell me should i bring life here?
to this graveyard of black bones and mothers sorrow
this grief ridden land of red, white, and blue.
where bullets roam free but always seem to make their home in black bodies
come. take away. this pain.
take away my womb.
i ain’t got no use for her.
she hollow now. all carved out.
ain’t nothing here but but cold emptiness here
i’m begging you.