THE TRAGEDY OF WOMEN
By JOAN M KOP
To have, or not to have—that is women’s question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of not bearing a child
Or to take arms against a sea of anxieties,
And by having one, end them. To mother—to nurture—
No more; and by a pregnancy to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That woman is otherwise heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To mother—to nurture.
To nurture—perchance to love unselfishly: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that gift of selfless love, what rewards may come
When in later years the need for us
By husband and child diminishes. There’s the devotion
That makes irony of our lives unbearable.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of children,
Th’ husband’s wrongs, the chauvinist’s disrespect,
The pangs of despis’d isolation, the law’s deficit,
The inequities of salary, and the spurns
That a mother merits by succumbing to nature,
When she herself might do better
With another career? Who would burdens bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary housewife life,
But that the dread of children grown—
The menopausal depression, from whose confines
No mother escapes—puzzles the mind,
And makes us rather bear those injustices we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought
And constitutional amendments of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now!
The macho husband!—Darling, in thy prayers
Be all my sins rememb’red.