LIT 207- Great Works of Poetry—Annotated Bibliography
Title of Reading: “Before the Birth of One of Her Children” Author: Anne Bradstreet
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF MAIN IDEAS:
In the beautiful poem, “Before the Birth of One of Her Children”, Anne Bradstreet expresses her feelings honestly and openly. The poem is written to her husband, and it addresses her fear of not surviving childbirth and what she would want her husband to do if that was the case.
One of the main ideas that I found to be most evident was the love that she expresses in her poem. She says to her husband, “And if thou love thy self, or loved’st me, These O protect from step-dame’s injury.” Bradstreet not only cares for and loves her husband, but she has a passionate love for her unborn child. Another prominent theme is Bradstreet’s acknowledgement of the possibility of death. She faces her fear, knowing it is inevitable and could occur when she gives birth, which she points out by telling her husband about how he might “lose his friend.” She also tells him how she wants to be remembered, which is clearly seen when she says, “If any worth or virtue were in me, Let thy live freshly in thy memory.”
In this poem, it is clear that she feels love and a strong maternal bond with her child even though there is the possibility she will never meet him/her. “Before the Birth of One of Her Children” is a wonderful illustration of Anne Bradstreet’s loving character as well as her facing her fear of death.
REACTION TO ONE OF THE MAIN IDEAS:
This poem really resonated with me because I felt like it can be applicable to my own life. Not exactly in the same way of dying through childbirth, but through the love, honor, and sacrifice that she expresses through this poem.
Although Anne Bradstreet has never met the child she refers to in this poem since she has not given birth yet, it is evident that she is filled with love for him/her. She tells her husband to take very good care of them, just like she would do if she survives. I think her example of love is a great example to everyone, especially for us Christians. The love that she shows is unconditional and sacrificial, just like the love Jesus has for us. I think Anne Bradstreet’s possible death is also symbolic to Jesus’ death; she would be dying for her child, and Jesus died on the cross for His children as well. The difference, of course, lies in the fact that we can have a relationship with Jesus even though He died for us, but I still think there is a lot of significance between the two. She wants her husband to do whatever it takes to care for her children if she cannot be there, and God always cares for His children as well. I think the type of love that Anne Bradstreet demonstrates through this poem is something that we should try to be practice in our daily lives. It may be through little things, but we have the incredible opportunity to allow God’s love to flow through us each and every day of our lives!