Response to Before the Birth of One of Her Children
Anne Bradstreet’s poem Before the Birth of One of Her Children interested me in several ways. The poem addresses her husband while she is pregnant, and discusses what she wants him to do if she dies in childbirth. I liked how she seemed very accepting of the fact that during her time childbirth was extremely dangerous, and many women died. The tone is very realistic: she does not want to die, yet realizes the possibility and thus is preparing for it. The poem is essentially a goodbye to her husband in case she does not survive the ordeal of childbirth. She says neither of them knows that the future will bring, but her love for her husband is making her write this farewell poem so that he will know of her feelings. She also implores him to take care of her children, and not let them fall victim to a stepmother if he remarries. This poem makes me admire her, not only for her realistic attitude, but also for the evident love she has for both her husband and her unborn child.
Bradstreet’s poem is remarkably different from other Puritan poems. She only mentions God once, in reference to her death. She states that she hopes God will give her husband what he will miss if she dies. This is remarkably different from the other Puritan writers, who glorify God in every poem. She does not try to demystify God or describe him as part of everything. He is not a focal element in this poem, but rather just a part of her life like everything else. This shows that she was not brainwashed by the Puritan mindset, but simply loved God and loved life.