Letter to My Unborn Daughter — Nandini Sahu



Tiny limbs smeared with my fresh enflamed blood

oozing out of the womb, gushing in fact.

I knew. I had lost you.Then and there. Shattered.

The sadomasochist burped then, and snored

 in a short while, when the maid rushed us to

the local hospital. I heard what you never uttered.

Ahh heal ‘us’, protect ‘us’, you and me, me and you,

Mom and her little girlie, wish to take the world in their stride.


Today, a letter to you, my unborn daughter, after

long two decades of quiet travail

telling our tales to your younger brother,

with a bleeding heart, I smile with exuding tears.


Smile to see my dream daughter alive in

her brother little; so full of love and compassion, so much a

feminist-humanist male, so strong to hold Mom’s head high,

so much you, so as I would have you.


Ah! There was such rage over a female foetus

growing up to be a girl of power and conviction, like Mom dear.

Or like the PanchaMahakanya. And the marital rapes, the threats

to snatch you any given day, if I dissent; and then the termination.


If at all there is a next birth for you, my little fairy,

come back, come back to my womb, life minus you is such dreary.

You need not play the games that the heart must play.

Pronounce before birth, you are not gonna be the woman of clay.


Like Ahilya, never fall prey to Indra’s trickery; and if ever you do,

do it by your choice, not anyone else’s, neither Goutama’s nor Indra’s.

Your penance need not be broken by Lord Rama, the one who

judged his wife; you need not regain your human form


by brushing his feet. Remain that dry stream, that stone,

till you find a way to my womb again, in another life, another Yug;

you need not be condoned of your guilt, you never were ‘guilty’.

Let Indra be cursed, castrated, concealed by a thousand vulvae

that eventually turn into a thousand eyes. Or like Draupadi, take your birth from a fire-sacrifice, be an incarnation of the fierce goddess Kali

or the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi; but never be the sacrificial goat

to accept five husbands just because someone else deliberated.


If any Yudhishtir  drops you at the Himalayas because you

loved Arjun more, look in his eyes and declare, loud and clear–

it’s your right to live, love and pray. While never deriding

the Duryodhan and Karn of your destiny, live laudable my dear.


Nor Kunti be your role model; but if ever you propitiate the sage

Durvasa, who grants you a mantra to summon

a god and have a child by him, then take his charge.

Don’t you recklessly test the boons life grants you by haze


nor invite the Sun-god, Surya, give birth to Karna, and abandon.

An unborn child is better than the one dejected, forlorn.

Or if ever you are Tara, the apsara, the celestial nymph,

who rises from the churning of the milky ocean


be the Tara, Sugriva’s queen and chief diplomat,

the politically correct one, the woman in control of herself

and folks around. In the folk Ramayans,

Tara casts a curse on Rama by the supremacy of her chastity,


while in some versions, Rama enlightens Tara. Be her, the absolute.

Or be Mandodari, the beautiful, pious, and righteous.

Ravana’s dutiful wife who couldn’t be his guiding force,

Bibhishana’s compliant wife, the indomitable grace.


Be you, the elemental, candid, real woman who is my ideal.

Don’t ever let another female foetus be the victim of

sadomasochism, unlike your fragile, fledgling Mom.

Be all that she could never be, be her role model.


I send you my prayers, the prayer before birth.

Moon, rain, oceans, and the blue firmament,

shining stars and a sun aglow are all that I have–

you must call them your own, my unborn daughter.


Forgive me my love, for you died with all the petals

falling from my autumny breast, the breast that you never suckled;

you rain on my being and burn my heart, but calm my soul

like simmering snow slowly concealed yet revealed.


You will stay indomitable, taking new lives every single day

in Mom’s prayers, poetry, social responsibilities, ecofeminism,

messages, voices, layers of thoughts and action. My girl,

I am what I decided to be after losing you, that’s the euphemism.


I am not just a woman since that fateful night, but entire

womankind. Now I am a woman of full circle, within me there is the

power to create, nurture and transform. I rediscover pieces of myself

through your unborn narrative, in the resonance, in my quirky confluence.






Bio-brief: Prof.Nandini Sahu, Professor of English, IGNOU, New Delhi, India, is an established Indian English poet, creative writer, theorist and folklorist. She is the author/editor of thirteen books has been widely published in India, U.S.A, U.K, Africa and Pakistan. Dr. Sahu is a double gold medalist in English literature, the award winner of All India Poetry Contest and Shiksha Rattan Purashkar. She is the Chief Editor and Founder Editor of two bi-annual refereed journals, Interdisciplinary Journal of Literature and Language(IJLL) and Panorama Literaria. Her areas of research interest cover New Literatures, Critical Theory, Folklore and Culture Studies, Children’s Literature, American Literature.









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