after Motherhood by Georgia Douglas Johnson
by Denise Fletcher
(To the baby I never had.)
So now, here I am, living with regrets
and having a midlife crisis.
Please forgive me for not giving you life.
Please forgive me for not giving you a
chance to breathe and live.
I never knew until it was too late that
my tubal ligation would be such a
source of regret; And yet, it is.
Maybe I was being selfish?
Maybe I was.
I never wanted you to suffer with
the deep emotions that are passed on
from generation to generation; the
mental illness that runs in the family.
I never meant to have a life so stripped
of the joy of babies and love and tears.
I miss the moments we could have shared.
My mother warned me too late, all because
I had refused to tell her what I had planned.
Was she right after all? She said: “You
will never be fulfilled as a woman, if you
don’t have a baby.” “Time will tell.”
The die is cast. What’s done is done. It is never
that simple. These things come with a price.
Oh, the life lessons we learn too late.
I am still alive and here,
but so sad that you are not.
* * * * *
Denise Fletcher is a freelance writer and artist. She received a B.S. in Recreational Therapy from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a minor in Psychology. Her creative work has appeared in a number of anthologies and journals including: Florida Bards, Bards Against Hunger, Kaleidoscope Magazine, Open Minds Quarterly and other various publications in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. She currently lives in the Tampa area.