Woman Defined

Woman Defined, by Claudia Cotrutza French


New baby coming

All arrangements were in order

moneys were paid in advance

bribing my future delivery nurse

(went to her house)

being sure that somebody will pay attention to my needs

(when in hospital

I called

she was there)


My taxi cab drove quickly

dropped me right at guarded gates

so many stairs to get to the 3rd floor,

labor and delivery station

Bribed nurse

(in a hurry to get the job done before her shift ends)

brake water

force it


pain starts

I’m so lonely

Husband not allowed in maternity hospital

women are alone

no comforting hands to hold

nice words to hear

shoved into a common labor room

many screaming lonely women

I shouldn’t make any noises

nurses are upset

they scold expecting mothers:

“Why are you screaming now, you morons, didn’t you like it when you conceived the baby, you did, didn’t you, huh?”

I am so afraid to scream

to make any noises in this factory of laborers

no, no screaming

I promise I’ll be good so you can be nice to me, can you?

tears are lingering on my cheeks

my body curves as it spasms into labor pain

bite my arm

my hand

Create a different kind of pain to exclude the first

I’m all bloody

Teeth marks, on my arm

Oh, no  that’s not enough

I’m pulling my hair off

No, no screaming, don’t upset my nurses

I’m bleeding

Nurse sends me to one of three delivery tables

One already occupied by another

So without any privacy

ecstasy of crying sounds joyously come over me…

He’s out fighting with his nurse

reaching for his first breath

He is here

I felt empty, lonely

He was taken quickly to nursery

farther away

Bribed nurse leaves content she didn’t pass her shift time

Next day, waiting to visit baby

Not remembering how he looks

Would I recognize him?

Where is he?

Hunger strikes

Look to my window sill, the rope…rope to pull up food…

Hear my name being called out loudly

down on the other side of the wall

from the 4th floor of my recovery room with 12 beds

It seams so far down


Husband, 3 years old daughter

waiting to hear news

asking questions about our new born

They brought food for me


Tie off rope, pull it up

through opened window to my floor

like everybody else before me

getting food brought from outside hospital

I won’t starve with what little they give me here…

People are talking over each other, from windows around

about newborns, names…not allowed into maternity ward

Five days pass – At last

New daddy OK’d to pick up wife with newborn son

handed to him, though a window

“He is really handsome” I hear…

Patrick Roland…what kind of name did you give him?

Upsetness comes over Romanian families

all for choosing such foreign names

my secret

my hope

my dream

 to flee one day from this country to America

He will be free

Me too