This is inspired by Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. Though similar in form, the content is completely different.
This book started off as a final project for my midwifery course (an elective) MWF325: Birth and Its Meanings. Through the beginning process of coming up with the idea, I knew I wanted it to be something bigger than just a project for one of my classes.
I wanted to give light to the voices of the mothers in my family as it was difficult for me to find literature on the experience of Filipino mothers in childbirth. Though in poetry form, I felt that this project still contributes to a form of representation – and representation always matters.
I knew that family matters also mattered, so I collaborated with my cousin who is an artist. We always had plans of working together – me with my poetry and him with his artwork – but never knew what we could collectively produce. When this project came up, I knew I wanted us to put our talents together to create something.
With consent, I interviewed the mothers and fathers in my direct and extended family to ask about the experiences of their pregnancy and those of giving birth. Unfortunately, not every aunt or uncle agreed to interview, therefore they are not a part of this project.
I drew inspiration from the transcribed interviews to write the poems in this book. Through my poems, I gave my cousin the artistic freedom to illustrate. He used different art mediums such as pen, markers, and watercolour paints to create the illustrations for the book.
I categorized each chapter to represent the different stages of their experiences. I also separated the chapters into sections which detailed the experiences of each of my aunts and my mother. I chronologically ordered the sections in accordance to the Toquero family births. The “Reflection” chapter was written using quotes taken directly from the interviews and pieced together with my interpretation.