The Hairbag Poet-Birth

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

Todays Poetry Friday Roundup can be found over at Sylvia Vardell’s site here.

You can read about the history of this series here.

One of the things I love most about the internet is the ability to come across interesting, educational, or inspiring information. Imagine my delight, when I came across a place that encompassed all of the above. A few months back I was scrolling through my twitter feed, and you know how you click on something, or someone shared something, and you check it out, and before you know it, you’re down the rabbit hole. Well that’s how I came across #WOMENSART @womensart1. I was smitten immediately. There is so much cool, interesting, beautiful, and not so beautiful art in every form imaginable: painting, drawing, sculpture, needlework, textile, glass, jewelry…you name it. I could spend hours just browsing through all the images. Well, one day I came across the image you see below. It’s an 18th century training doll for midwives, created by a French midwife. What I love about this piece is how it combines my love of nursing, nursing education, and the creative spirit with which nurses have historically harnessed, with my love of artistry. It is an amazing and artistic teaching tool. I was so inspired I knew I just had to use this picture for a Hairbag Poem.

I decided to use the poetic form of Abecedarian. This style of poetry is related to acrostic, where the first letter of each line or stanza follows the alphabet sequentially (Poetry Foundation, 2018). I enjoyed the writing process for this poem, and tried to stay true to the reality of labor.


Angélique-Marguerite du Coudray was a pioneering and influential 18th century French midwife who designed equipment to teach midwife trainees about delivering babies


Birth has an order that starts with
Contractions that lead to
Dilation a cervical action.
Effacement occurs as the cervix is thinning, the
First of three stages of labors beginning.
Get up, take a walk, or a shower or bath
Heed your instructions from childbirth class.
Initial excitement is normal at first,
Just remember don’t panic should your water burst.
Keep calm, call the doctor, active
Labor has begun,
Make your way to the car for your hospital run.
Now here’s the hard part, and it takes a long time,
Often known as transition, or labor half-time.
Panting through pain, don’t
Quit…rise to power.
Stage 2 is the magical hour. It’s
Time to start pushing, bear down, concentrate…
Uterine contractions exacerbate!
Vaginal tissues stretch and make room, as the baby descends from out of your
Xenagogue guides the final egest, then places
Your newborn on top of your chest.
Zeal fills the room,
it’s time for stage 3,
the afterbirth,
placental delivery).

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.


The Hairbag Poet





7 thoughts on “The Hairbag Poet-Birth

  1. Giving birth is such an experience that years later, many years later, you still remember. From the first time flutter to the first pain of labor, it leaves an indelible mark. I’ve been blessed three times and have not regretted it for a moment. Thanks for invoking those memories, Jean. Good job.

  2. I’m wowwed by this post all the way around — the training doll for midwives is amazing and your abecedarian about labor/birth is impressive!

    • Thank you Tabatha! I was wow’d when I saw that doll for the first time. It’s such a tactile teaching tool which I love as a nurse, but clearly it’s a piece of art and history as well. Thank you for your comment.

  3. What a post! That image is incredible, and you poem on labor and birth is powerful. I tried an abcedarian poem once–it’s hard to do well.

  4. Wow.. I learned something new about art tonight.. I’m so impressed. Abcedarian… what a cool format and what an amazing job you did!! As a nurse and a mother, it’s fabulous and what a really great hands on tool from the French midwife!!

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