Motherhood Poetry

Sympathy Pains

Written by Andrea Ludwig Cook

A few years ago, I was contemplating this interwoven connection between mother and child, love and ache, and birth and death. And finally my own pietà formed in my mind. Not in stone, but in words. A woman’s birthing experience and Christ’s dying experience are attuned to each other. She gives life through birth. He gave life through death. Salvation is a masterpiece.

Sympathy Pains

The waiting room is packed. New life is coming.

The signs are here, but she thinks it’s too soon.
He knows it’s time, and he’s made it up to the right place.

Her mom is there, an eager helper. A loving nurse.
His mom is nearby, trying to breathe. A nursing pietà.

She gushes red as muscles scream in biting rhythm.
He silently counts the time between the clangs.

She’s cut open to speed it up.
He feels her pain in his side.

She asks for water.
He gets the vinegar.

Blood and water, spirit and form burst out from her with a jubilant scream.
He’s hung to dry.

The firstborn son is welcomed home.


*This poem was first published on Andrea’s personal blog.

** Image: the “Pietà” by Michelangelo, Saint-Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. 

About the author


Andrea Ludwig Cook

Andrea Ludwig Cook is a patented blend of Danish vikings, British coal miners, German farmers, and American frontiersmen. Recognizing her true nature as a word nerd, she earned an English degree from Brigham Young University and aspires to be a linguist, poet, or a mystery shopper at Williams-Sonoma. She married her soul mate only after he promised to do the laundry for the rest of their lives. Andrea is currently alive in Texas.

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