Feb 28, 2023

Shall it bear another name?


Angela Gorash

A poetic reflection on motherhood and the war in Ukraine

Image By:
Madeline Mullenbach

A note from the author:

My name is Angela; I am 31 years old and have been married for nine years. This spring my husband, Daniel, and I welcomed our first born into the world. My family emigrated from the former Soviet Union back in 1989; they were from the region of Ukraine. Over the past few years, more of my extended family has left Ukraine to start a new life in the United States. However, much of my extended family and some friends still live in Ukraine. When the war broke out in February 2022, many fled to Poland and Spain and other European countries to seek a safe place, while others I know stayed back to defend their homeland.  

Ukraine has been recognized as an independent state since 1992, since the fall of the Soviet Union. This war is being called not only an ethnocide but a genocide. I have visited the country of Ukraine only once, to see where my parents grew up and see family. But the culture and richness has always been a part of my life and my family’s life through food, stories, and history. The attacks on Ukraine, which are ongoing, really struck me as I was seeing videos of air raids and bombs going off in places my family lived. Just a week later, I gave birth to my son Kilian. I was in a state of euphoria embracing my son, but it was starkly contrasted with videos and messages we were receiving from friends and family of destruction and death in their homeland. I wrote this poem to illustrate the emotion and tension behind motherhood and the shared experiences of becoming a mother across the globe and across circumstances. 


Shall it bear another name?


Echoes of cries filled the halls,
Some from death, some from life.

What burden is this,
To share the same notes
And only guess
For which is it for. 

Labor is pain. But if it yields life,
Shall it bear another name?

I bore my first child in early March. 
I was overwhelmed with the joys of new life. 
No words can express the feeling when life comes anew.

This joy, however, was quickly overshadowed.

I heard the stories of women across the world.
In my parents’ homeland of Ukraine—
lucky of us to have left so long ago—
Women laboring in metros,
Seeking shelter from air raids. 

Life fights.
It doesn't give up.
Those children were born in a war-torn place.
How can I rejoice or complain?
I was safe, in a hospital bed tossed with blankets.
The only blood was caused by life.

My heart struggled to enjoy this moment I cannot forget.
Birth was wonderful for me.
But it revealed something so much bigger,
How life makes a way.

This is dedicated to the women, 
all innocent,
and standing their ground on their homeland.

Whether it be Ukraine,
Or another place we glimpse on our phones.

I hope this comes off with grace, 
Words aren't easy with pain.
Yet, somehow, more beautiful after the pain.

Shall it bear another name?

Angela Gorash is a wife, a mother, and a cultural anthropologist. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and loves the mountains and the outdoors. She is an avid board game player, and some of her other interests are home cooking, playing tennis, & eclectic design.