Old women say that men don’t know
The pain through which all mothers go,
I vow I never shall forget
The night he came. I suffered, too
Those bleak and dreary long hours through;
I paced the floor and mopped my brow
And waited for his glad wee-ow!
I went upstairs and then came down,
Because I saw the doctor frown
And knew beyond the slightest doubt
He wished to goodness I’d clear out.
I walked into the yard for air
And back again to hear her there,
And met the nurse, as calm as though
My world was not in deepest woe,
And when I questioned, seeking speech
Of consolation that would reach
Into my soul and strengthen me
For dreary hours that were to be:
“Progressing nicely!” that was all
She said and tip-toed down the hall;
“Progressing nicely!” nothing more,
And left me there to pace the floor.
And once more the nurse came out in haste
For something that had been misplaced,
And I that had been growing bold
Then felt my blood grow icy cold;
And fear’s stern chill swept over me.
I stood and watched and tried to see
Just what it was she came to get
I haven’t learned that secret yet.
I half-believe that nurse in white
Was adding fuel to my fright
And taking an unholy glee,
From time to time, in torturing me.
Then silence! To her room I crept
And was informed the doctor slept!
The doctor slept! Oh, vicious thought,
While she at death’s door bravely fought
And suffered untold anguish deep,
The doctor lulled himself to sleep.
I looked and saw him stretched out flat
And could have killed the man for that.
Then morning broke, and oh, the joy:
With dawn there came to us our boy.
And in a glorious little while
I went in there and saw her smile!
I must have looked a human wreck,
My collar wilted at my neck,
My hair awry, my features drawn
With all the suffering I had borne.
She looked at me and softly said,
“If I were you, I’d go to bed.”
Her’s was the bitterer part, I know;
She traveled through the vale of woe
But now when women folks recall
The pain and anguish of it all
I answer them in manner sad:
“It’s no cinch to become a dad.”
©Edgar A. Guest (1881 – 1959) an American poet who was popular in the first half of the 20th century known as the People’s Poet. His poems – an inspirational and optimistic view of everyday life still appears occasionally in periodicals such as Reader’s Digest, and some favorites, such as “Myself” and “Thanksgiving”.