Birth Weights

ISSN 2516-5852 (Online)

AIMS Journal, 2022, Vol 34, No 4

To read or download this Journal as a PDF. Please click here.

Picture of Danielle Gilmour holding newborn baby

By Danielle Gilmour

7,7; 8,4; 9,5 - These are numbers
I must have given a hundred times
but I’ve often wondered how I’d score
the weights of things I know to my core:

The strange intangible weight of two little lines on a pregnancy test
The sublime gravity of a warm, slippery baby to an exhausted chest,
as every care that came before becomes hot air
and floats away like balloons

The improbable weight of car seats is owed
to the mass of a human soul
squeezed into a fragile lump of pink flesh and soft bones,
wrapped up and buckled in

The unconquerable weight of eyelids that wish to remain shut
The light that’s cast on bits of me yet to grow up
The reserves that emerge from nowhere
and expand like bubbles rising up from the deep
The heaviness of choices that steal you from sleep

Space is weighted when it occupies
a newly vacated alien belly

The heavy ache of breasts full of milk
The featherweight of giggles soft as silk,
or butterfly kisses as day begins

The intolerable lightness of their very existence
that could be whisked away on a whim of the winds

There isn’t a number in kilos or pounds
that could conjure the sound when they hit the floor
The weight of new hazards not considered before; the door, a cup of tea, my phone

The absurdity of loneliness – the heaviest of things to be made of absence
and from never really being alone

Or the burdens I’d shoulder if I could buy
just one minute longer of our allotted time

If you could give theses weights a number,
it’s they that herald the birth of a mother


Author Bio: Danielle Gilmour lives in South Gloucestershire with her husband, three children, unruly dog, and brood of barren chickens. She has been self-medicating with poetry since becoming an exhausted mother and her work features the pushes and pulls of family life. Her work has appeared in 'Alluvian', 'The Wee Sparrow Poetry Press' and will feature in the upcoming publication by 'The 6ress' later this year. You can find her on instagram @mummy_juice_writes


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