Sunday, July 19, 2009

Now where did that idea come from?

On my many travels through cyber space, I came across a very interesting point. It is here that I must apologise to the person whose blog I read, because I'm not able to find it now, so can't link to it.

I haven't done anything untoward, so please don't let your imaginations run riot and assume (you know what 'they' say about making assumptions ...) that I have been engaging in that awful crime plagiarism - 'cos I haven't. To cut a tedium length story into a really short one, the blogger in question discussed how she was really fascinated by the idea that all women were born with, in fact grew in the womb with, all of the ovum that they would ever use during their lifetime. With this in mind, a woman, pregnant with a daughter, can essentially hold many generations within her womb at one time. She likened this idea to the Russian Nesting Dolls (Matryoshka Dolls - Thanks Big Frank). I will have to go on a bit of a hunt, but it is only fair to link to her blog, so I will do that as soon as I can find it.

I loved this thought, and it seemed so fitting as I had a daughter. I loved that I had held so much inside my womb for that time. I loved that my mother would have also held Emily, in that when she ( my mother - not the cat's) was pregnant with me, my little foetal body already had inside it the egg that would grow to be Emily. It was such a wonderful idea. I was really glad to have something nice to write about, and saw it as an opportunity to thank my mother. 'They' ( 'They' really do come up with a lot of sayings), say that after you have had a child you thank your own mother, because you finally have an understanding of what it was that she went through.

If my poem was going to be a thank you, I also needed to thank someone else, My Aunty Linda, who took me and my siblings in - on and off, together and separately over a period of 5 years, after our mother's death. No-one else did that, and just after Emily was born, it was my Aunty Linda who I wanted to thank. At 32 she had four children of her own, one of whom was only 12 months old, and it was she who took in four motherless souls. I was always grateful for what she did, but did not understand the magnitude of her act until I had Emily. This poem is dedicated to her. I hope my cousins don't mind that I feel that I have something to thank her for, and to be honest I should thank them too, for sharing their mum with us.

My sister, Mon, went to Russia last year, and bought Emily and I set a set of the dolls each. This was another lovely little link to the poem, and you can see the dolls in the photo attached to the original post. I love them, hence the linking of the colour red to the character in the poem.

The poem is essentially about me, even though I have siblings, it is my personal tribute. I am the little red doll. My Aunty Linda is the blue doll. The colours represent a genetic link, and Aunty Linda was not linked by blood, but by marriage. To me that made what she did all the more important. The third line relates to the idea expressed in the other blog. The idea of a woman, pregnant with a daughter, essentially nurturing her lineage in the cocooned safety of her womb. The fifth line links in the scientific knowledge of mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down through females only. That is, each of us has the mitochondrial DNA of our mother. If we are a female, we pass this DNA on to our own children. If we are a male, our offspring have the mitochondrial DNA of our partner. Yet another link to the Matryoshka theme, and runs smoothly into the next line which discusses the strength of the mitochondrial bond, as opposed to the surnames people have (more often than not passed down from a child's father). It is interesting to note, that when looking for familial ties, scientists and archaeologists look for mitochondrial DNA, which is a better way to determine decent and much more accurate than tracking genealogy through names. I particularly liked the irony of this, living in a society that sees men as the stronger of the two sexes, yet it is the DNA passed on from females to her offspring that is the most enduring. It is this genetic link that I see as a pledge. A pledge to look after the offspring of those in your family, should the children's mother be unable to do so any more.

The second stanza brings in the idea of thanking your mother after you have given birth to your own child. The first line asks the red doll character (me) who I would thank now that I can see a child of my own. The dilemma is that I had lost my own mother, so looked to thank someone who had offered something of value to me. That person being my Aunty Linda.

I hope that you enjoyed the poem, and that the explanation wasn't too long winded. I would love to hear your feedback, so feel free to comment. ♥


  1. That is so fascinating, the fact that we are born with all the ovum we will ever use/need. Women are so cool! Your explanation for this poem made me cry. I don't really know why, but maybe because the four 'motherless souls' line really got to me....either way, I love when you unravel the mystery that your poems are and explain the inspiration or background. Yay for Aunty Linda!

  2. I hope I don't sound harsh when I say I'm glad you cried. I am happy that my writing produced an emotional response. I hope that my poetry can do the same for people. That so much for your support and wonderful comments.