Pregnancy Poems: My Little Caterpillar - 1st Trimester


My mom is very sentimental and a great writer. One of her many gifts to me as I'm waiting for my little one to arrive is to write me a poem for every trimester. Here's her first trimester poem.

My Little Caterpillar

Gliding through the garden
The warm sun demands I linger
To inventory early blooms:
Yellow daffodils, pink tulip tree
Blue Texas Mountain Laurel.
Note to self: the “milkweed”,
brown and freeze burnt, sprouts leaf buds.

The sun is warm and sings of flowers,
The wind cold and scolding.
The opposites are not lost on the Milkweed.
“Milk”- protein, strength, nourishment
“Weed”- unintended, uninvited, invasive,
Not part of the plan.

But milkweed is the favorite food,
at times, exclusive food,
of butterflies on an epic journey
from Mexico, through Texas, to Canada.

My daughter is expecting!
She, too, will undergo a metamorphosis.
She, too, will never be the same.
She, too, will become something beautiful.
She, too, will earn her wings.
She, too, is on life’s journey
That’s the sun singing.

The wind shouts,
The Happy Caterpillar is raucous, unbridled growth and constant change.
Should someone tell you the story of a caterpillar’s life,
He yields but two words, “he grew”.
Sufficient story for beginning, middle and end – story told.

His mother planted him as an egg on a milkweed leaf.
Often, one can preview the caterpillar through the transparent egg.
He’s happy because milkweed is poisonous to most,
So he has every thing he needs for life-food & shelter.

Born with hook feet and a powerful jaw.
He eats the entire leaf, his birth bed.
This allows him to grow big and strong enough
to go to the next, and then the next.
He grows from the inside out, and gets too big for his body.
A crack appears behind his head.
He molts and sheds his skin 5 times.
Single-mindedly, he grows.
Becoming a bigger, prouder better specimen each molt.

I think of my daughter growing and morphing five times-
baby, toddler, child, teen and young woman.
A butterfly is beautiful, as is motherhood,\
But a butterfly is not the Happy Caterpillar.
I will miss my caterpillar.
I will miss my baby, toddler, child, teen, and the young woman.
Each an Identity I’ve taken care to know and love,
Only to watch each version of self sloughed off,
one by one,
and lost somewhere on the wind.

There will be tradeoffs with motherhood,
A lifting away of self.
The Butterfly gives up his grounding feet for wings,
And loses a serviceable mouth for a straw-like tongue.
The caterpillar again pushes his insides out,
Not spinning a cocoon, but forming a chrysalis from within.
His outer self shrivels and is expelled.  
His organs inside reorganize themselves,
He knits together a new thing to be.

The poison he ate from birth becomes the pigment of his wings.
It keeps predators away, and allows us to connect to who he was.
Through all the changes,
there is something unseen that stays the same
and survives change, from egg, to caterpillar, to pupa, to butterfly.
Invisible, but unfailingly, perceived and remembered.

I hold on to that clear vision with an iron grasp only a mother could muster.
My smiling, picture-perfect, Gerber baby.
My precocious, hilarious, joy-filled toddler.
My busy, friendly, ever-exploring child.
My accomplished, confident teen.
My spiritual, hard-working young lady.
My Happy Caterpillar, who again is lost to the winds of change,
And tomorrow’s butterfly.

by Kathy Parks