Before the Birth of One of Her Children by Anne Bradstreet: Summary and Analysis

In Before the Birth of One of Her Children, a pregnant wife is the speaker and her husband is the addressee. During the time in which this poem was written, the complication of pregnancy had taken many lives. And the speaker is aware of the possible complication.

Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

The speaker believes that death is inevitable and it can untie the strong relation of human beings. In order to justify her concept, she brings the reference of mythical allusion of Adam and Eve in which God sentenced them to death but blessed their children to continue the generation. Even the children will suffer the same mortality like the parents. The speaker believes that like Adam and Eve, she will leave the children behind. She wants her husband to forget her faults and keep the fresh memory of her virtues. She even asks him to see her image in her children. But she does not leave the children alone: as the token of love she presents this poem as a memoir. She immortalizes love through art or poetry like Edmund Spenser, who with the realization of transience, tries to immortalize his love through poetry.

To some extent, this poem can be taken as the example of verse letter. It is a kind of letter written to her husband. This title has been indirectly chosen to represent the problems of women on contemporary time. Speaking about herself, she tries to represent all other women. Throughout the poem, a sense of fear and maternal worry is evident. She implicitly accepts the universal truth of death that everyone has to face and also wants her children and husband to accept it as easily as she has done. She wishes her first child and husband to protect other kids from the anger and cruelty of potential step mother.

The language is conversational but the form is standard couplet. She has brought her model of writing from the English Renaissance. The beauty of "Before the Birth of One of Her Children" by Anne Bradstreet lay in its universal themes and concerns. Although Bradstreet wrote this poem more-than three hundred years ago, the maternal fears, love and hope she expressed will ring true in the minds of any modern woman who is expecting a child.

Related Topics

To My Dear and Loving Husband: Analysis

Anne Bradstreet: Biography