Chloe Morgan on how poetry helped her through labour during a global pandemic

Chloe and her beautiful new baby

I’d read about how, like all other mammals, a birthing women’s labour can halt if the woman feels in any way threatened or unsafe in the environment in which they are in.

Back at the end of March 2020, as we were heading towards the “peak” of the Covid pandemic, this “halted labour” was the situation that I found myself in.

It was two weeks into lockdown, in the most bizarre time I’d ever lived through. Every time I turned on the TV I was bombarded with scaremongering headlines of this “Deadly Virus”, “Overrun Hospitals” and “It is a war zone out there”. My third baby was due imminently and I was told, (due to Covid), I should expect to give birth alone.

My previous birth unfortunately turned out to be traumatic. There were lots of complications (thankfully baby was fine) and my husband had been my rock through every hurdle. This time I was told that it was highly likely that I would haemorrhage again and prospect of enduring this a second time, alone and during the peak of a global pandemic was quite frankly terrifying.

I knew that my baby was ready to come, but all my anxieties were preventing the labour from progressing. For two solid weeks the agonising long nights and days blurred into one, with a constant repetition of stop-start contractions that just would not progress. Through this I was trying to stay strong for my confused and disorientated 5 and 4 year olds. I had to get them through the most baffling experience I’d lived through, whilst attempting to home school, and support their own worries whilst waiting for baby number 3’s arrival.

Around 4am on the 6th April, after another particularly uncomfortable night of stop-start contractions, I gave up trying to sleep. I sat at my laptop thinking I’ll write down what was on my mind. In the end I purged away my worries to my (then) unborn baby with the poem “The Anxious Wait”. It wasn’t what I had planned, but it kind of just came out that way. I’d dabbled in poetry a couple of times as a teenager, but to be honest had never really written before.

I became fully absorbed in the cathartic process, and loved finding a flow in the rhythm and rhymes, all the while in a kind of meditative state with hypnobirthing playing in the background. I felt much more at peace afterwards. Like I’d got that off my chest. Later that morning the niggling pains that had been plaguing me for weeks took on a whole new force, becoming stronger and regular. The sun shone bright and a strange new energy took over.

Low and behold, early that afternoon we safely welcomed our third son into the world. After two having two difficult birth experiences before, this was a most beautiful and spiritual experience. This time I felt empowered and in control. Luckily, as I was in established labour upon arriving at the hospital, they let my husband in. I truly believe that this creative release I gained when writing the poem, was an integral part of this positive birth experience.

So my journey into poetry began, and for me it is a very self-indulgent therapeutic process. It has become a little luxury for when I find those brief slots of time amongst the chaos that is life with three young children.

You can find me on Instagram – @chloe_eve_creates


The Anxious Wait

The days and nights are long now,

it is an anxious wait.

I pause, breathe in, count to four,

breathe out and count to eight.

I know the time is getting close

to hold you in my arms,

but now I’m feeling frightened,

my mind cannot get calm.

You’re safe and warm inside me,

we snuggle up in bed,

the strange confusing world out here

keeps filing me with dread.

Out here we’re all imprisoned,

our human rights are stripped.

A deadly virus shakes the earth,

for which we’re not equipped.

I’m trying to relax enough to

bring you to this world –

your little body resting there,

head down, bum up, back curled.

You’re movements are so strong now,

your kicks have so much might,

I know you’re ready to come out,

I must not feel this fright.

It’s 6am, I step outside,

as sun begins to rise,

the birds are singing as dawn breaks,

you stretch at my insides.

I reconnect myself with earth,

the one thing that is true,

I fill my lungs with golden light

and send it down to you.

The air is cool, a gentle breeze

now skims across my face,

this natural world, the only thing

that’s filling me with grace.

I want you here beside me now,

time is moving slow,

I’m longing for you in my arms,

but can’t seem to let go.

I try to calm my mind again,

it is an anxious wait,

I pause, breathe in, count to four,

breathe out and count to eight.

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