In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Kaveh Akbar is on the line.
My wife and I are expecting a baby in five months. We are both women, and she is carrying it. The months feel expansive and momentous, like I need to get myself wholly together, smooth out all my rusted-in neuroses, do all the wild kayaking, dancing, writing, and running around in forests. I need to do all that so I’m perfectly composed and ready for the sacrifices of parenthood. I feel I should be savoring every delicious hour of this right-before-baby time, but I’m still worrying and feeling a little bereft and not working out, just like usual. I can’t wait to meet our son or daughter, but how can I graduate to fully baked adult in just five months? What if I’m not good at it?
I need a poem that speaks to crossing a big threshold, and the inevitability of unreadiness for being a mom.
Not Grown Up Yet
Every new or expectant parent I’ve ever spoken with has shared the anxiety you articulate beautifully and concisely: “What if I’m not good at it?” I remember being fascinated by the realization (it came embarrassingly late) that before they had my older brother, my parents had never been parents. Some part of me just idly assumed they’d been born parents, fully equipped to handle our feeding and fevers and acne crises. Read More