Even with gentle pressure
I can feel my fullness. It’s like I’ve
feasted on bread all night. Bloated
by your fingertips stretching out.
Filled with this yeasty life,
I’m expanding from inside out.
Just one thing stands between us.
Part mother, part child, part other.
Like the spare pastry left once the
gingerbread child has been cut out.
All that holds us together are the
apron strings tied above my waist.
Pulling and massaging my stomach,
feeling where you are. Yet through this
grainy smeared window, I see you
now tucked up in this womb.
Waiting for your chest to rise,
I can’t be tempted to hold you yet.
All will be lost once your body
is brought into this world.
Cracking my skin open, you
slither out, yolk still intact.
Picking shell from the surface,
I let the egg wash over you.
This albumen binds us together,
Setting us in one another’s arms.
I enjoy the squeamish aspects of both the images and poem developed whilst experimenting with dough as the body of mother and child during pregnancy. I felt so passionately about how interconnected baking and pregnancy were that the words of this poem kept coming to me in waves over the six months; a perfect way to way to express my research and the emotions felt whilst baking.
Even reading it now, I feel such a connection with the act of imagining dough as an unborn child growing, of massaging it as I would my own rising bump.
For me, more than anything, this poem is about the impatience that I and many women feel for the birth of their child, much like the impatience of baking where one must sit and wait for the dough to rise and then bake. Even before it is a loaf of bread, it is loved and nurtured like a rapidly approaching unborn child.
There’s also a certain amount of emptiness written into the poem, a certain lack of child, that I might only be reading as a childless ‘mother’, constantly searching for my own motherhood. The true feeling of trying to create both a pregnancy and a child through forming, rising and baking dough.
Finally, she sighs. The bake must be ready now and gosh does it smell good.