A Wee Dose of Reality
Immaculate conception wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Inside, I could hold my head up high,
knowing I had done no wrong,
but you try telling that to the old biddies down in the market,
looking for a story to gossip,
a victim to scandalise.
It wasn’t just the dried up old widows
seething with bitterness
at their station in life,
but even the younger ones
I used to run around with.
I’d catch them, too,
blethering on the corner,
going real quiet when I appeared—
a conversation stopper, that’s me,
if ever there was one.
And who could blame them?
They saw me change from the shy bright teenager I was,
full of life,
to the sallow-skinned miserable wench,
throwing up at everyday sights and smells.
If that angel hadn’t warned me,
they would have known before I did—
the signs were all there.
They’d seen them all before:
the squeamishness, the pallor.
No blooming for me,
I turned into a ghost of myself,
folk could see right through me
and they were quick to draw their own conclusions.
They’d judged and condemned me
before I even got up to speed
and cottoned on
that what the angel said had come true,
I was pregnant.
Those serene pictures you see
of me looking calm and contented, well,
nothing could be further from the truth!
Sure I wanted to serve God
but God had no idea what it was like
to be an unmarried pregnant teenager.
It felt like I was two different people:
a willing servant of God, on the one hand,
and a sick, scared miserable pregnant teenager on the other.
What did God know
about pregnancy sickness,
or about stretch marks,
or about ankles that swell
and spill over your shoes,
or about developing breasts as big and hard as water melons
(I was never known for largesse in that department)?
Lets not forget the constant weariness,
and, as if all that wasn’t bad enough,
there was the shunning on top.
I might be carrying God’s child
but you try telling that to folk
with laws that mattered above all else,
laws that should have got me stoned.
Even the best saint
would have had a job
smiling through all that,
far less a naive teenager.
Immaculate for whom?
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