Gorgeous Guest Poem - After-Birth by Tira Porter


Three day old Mama
Spread eagle, flat on the bed,
Naked as birth.

"Keep the stitches dry" they say
"How, when I'm bleeding like a shot bird and wearing adult diapers all day?" I say. Air out.

So here I lay.
Legs propped up on six pillows wrapped in cabbage leaves to drain the fluid from my trunk legs, milk dripping from my newly engorged breasts, window open, and a warm spring breeze comes in
"airing me out".

Husband brings a good book but
I just call my girlfriends at a cottage drinking on the dock in their bikinis, painted toenails, with the freshness of having slept
through the night,
and ankles.
And as I regale my birth story and how life has changed
I'm aware of all
that separates us now.
I hang up the phone and cry - not unusual these days - and for a moment I ache
to be with those girls on a dock,
with ankles.
I'm shot back to reality by the cry
of my new baby girl and my husband bringing her to me,
and I wipe my face because
I'm the mom now. Because
someone depends on me. Because
I have to be strong.
Because I AM strong.

My husband's arms lift me up to sitting
and all of my
body is. just. there.
Heavy and swollen, but empty.
It's just me in there now.
And I cradle this little life and nurse her
with my body and all
is silent except for the sound
of sucking and swallowing...
listen for the swallows: one...two...three...
they are singing in the trees too
and I'm aware of how full of life the spring is.
And as this sweet babe comes to life more every day,
so do I.
A new chapter titled: "mama".

When I imagined myself as a mom I always had a ponytail, a good one, not scraggly or too groomed, just
a good one.
But I hate ponytails.
They don't suit me.

And when I imagined nursing
my hair was French braided
and I was wearing an all white
cotton night gown, rocking
by moonlight, and everything
was still and
everything was beautiful.

Instead, here I am, unshowered, a mess.
A swollen, stunning, gargantuan mess. French braids take too long,
white is no longer my colour - thanks to all that is coming out of me and all that is coming out of her -and how do you
nurse in a nightgown without buttons?
Forget the rocking chair.
That seat is too hard and too low - I sat down and I couldn't get up.
But everything is still and
everything is beautiful.

Everything. Including my swollen tummy and stretch marks, my engorged breasts and trunk legs, my tired eyes, and newly grey hairs. And I wouldn't trade one spec.
Because I love this little baby, and I love our new life, and I'd rather be here and be a mess and have it all than be on a dock in a bikini with ankles.

So here I am. New Mama. Just getting by, and just in love with
my new family:
husband, daughter.
all I've ever wanted,
all mine,
all of me,
all beautiful.

About Tira:

Tira Porter is a wife, mother, and self-proclaimed poet. She is a full time mom, and a sometimes-supply-teacher. Tira has a BA and a Masters in Child Study and Education, both of which are put to good use "momming". She loves sunny days, fresh air, and her daughter's nap time. Tira lives with her husband and toddler-daughter in Kemptville, ON.


Such sincere thanks to Tira for her generosity and bravery in sharing both the wonder - and dare I say, the horror - of postpartum.