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To My Step-Daughter on Mother’s Day
Bonnie Schupp


You were born into my life, not from my womb but my heart,
your nine-year-old anger at first contracting,
then pushing against the unknown.
You ripped the fabric of my certainty, bloodied my serenity.

I labored long—
wanting you, resenting you
for the loss of my life
as it had been.

It was not a doctor’s hand that slapped you into breathing.
It was my hand that insisted on a truce,
demanded you inhale the love surrounding you,
hugged you tentatively and absorbed your anger.

It was then,
in the struggle,
that you began to breathe
and called me Mom.

© by Bonnie Schupp.
Used with the author’s permission.




Bonnie Schupp is an educator, poet, photographer, wife, mother, and author of six books. She has given birth twice—once, physically, to her birth daughter, and once, metaphorically, to her step-daughter. Bonnie, who lives in Baltimore, Maryland, says of all the roles she plays, that of mother has been the most transformative. Learn more about her at





Post New Comment:
Beautiful and moving! Janice
Posted 05/12/2017 08:21 AM
Wonderful image. Love wins!
Posted 05/11/2017 06:15 PM
All step-mothers are so honored & celebrated in this well crafted poem. Thanks,Bonnie.
Posted 05/11/2017 03:46 PM
Beautiful...every word and phrase so carefully chosen and knit together.
Posted 05/11/2017 01:19 PM
Kathleen Carlson:
Beautiful and thought-provoking, especially for me who has had no daughter.
Posted 05/11/2017 01:03 PM
Sarah Russell:
Such honesty and insight. Love this poem!
Posted 05/11/2017 11:39 AM
Lori Levy:
Very tender and loving. Love the line,"It was my hand that insisted on a truce."
Posted 05/11/2017 11:14 AM
So beautiful and real--motherhood.
Posted 05/11/2017 10:49 AM
Thank you for a love poem without sentimentality--just truth.
Posted 05/11/2017 08:37 AM

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