Quotes for a New Mother

Hi eveyone. I need your genius. A friend of mine is about to give birth and she would like to have a quote (preferably from an African American, but anything good will do) from either a poem or prose about “mother/son” or “mother/new baby” to put on her birth announcement. Can any of you help? Do any of you have something to offer? Maybe a link, even?

Thanks for your help!

“Alligators have the right idea. They eat their young.”—Eve Arden, “MIldred Pierce”

“Lord, Please give me the patience to endure my blessings”


[sub]She may not appreicate it now, but wait until the kid hits the terrible twos![/sub]

::: d&r :::

Zev Steinhardt

People, People!! LOL! We’re serious here! She’s laughing, though. And she’s even considered Zev’s. :slight_smile:

Her card has a sketching of a mother cradling her son. It’s very soft and gentle and almost spiritual. For the life of me I can’t think of anything, even by Plath! I offered a few Wordsworth and Shakespeare quotes, but no go. I wish I knew more literature than that by white men! I mean, I love white men, but my friend is black and female!


One of my favorites is (paraphrasing)

The rules for motherhood are but three; love, limit, and let them be.

I’m not positive who this is, but I have it written down at home and will check later on. It’s always seemed very much in keeping with my own approach to raising my son, and I like it a lot. There’s also the “every new baby is a sign of god’s confidence in the future of man…” but I think that one’s pretty much been done to death.

Or how about some of these?
“Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved."
– Erich Fromm

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness."
– Honore’ de Balzac (1799-1850)

“Men are what their mothers made them.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”
-William Makepeace Thackeray

“There was never a great man who had not a great mother”
-Oliver Schreiner
Good Luck! When’s she due?


You are wonderful, bella! I’ll send these to her. She’s due any day now. We’re hoping for this weekend.


This isn’t exactly appropriate for a birth announcement, but I love it:

“A mother’s love is a blessing
No matter where you roam
Keep her while she’s living
You’ll miss her when she’s gone.”

I think it’s Irish. I got it from Frank McCourt.

Here are some I found –

“A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best,
but his mother the longest.”
– Irish proverb (I can’t help myself!)

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for. --Unknown
“And so our mothers and
grandmothers have, more
often than not anonymously,
handed on the creative spark,
the seed of the flower they
themselves never hoped to
see – or like a sealed letter
they could not plainly read.”
– Alice Walker

“Life began with waking up
and loving my mother’s
– George Eliot

"Real Mothers know that a child’s growth is not measured
by height or years or grade. . .
It is marked by the progression of Mama to Mommy to
– unknown (sniff!)

Thank you so much, Ellen. I’ll pass these along. My favorite? George Eliot, of course!


“…If we were very, very, very naughty, and wouldn’t be good, what then?”
“Then,” said the mother sadly – and while she spoke her eyes filled with tears, and a sob almost choked her – “then,” she said, “I should have to go away and leave you, and to send home a New Mother, with glass eyes and a wooden tail.”

– Lucy Clifford, “The New Mother,” 1882

Marge: “Now, Homie…remember the promise you made the children.”
Homer: “You bet I do! ‘Eighteen years old and you’re out the door!’”

The Simpsons

“…If we were very, very, very naughty, and wouldn’t be good, what then?”

Oh. My. God. Ike, that was one of the few stories that gave me nightmares as a child. You’ve just undone many many years of selective forgetting. Thank you ever so much.


That seems very, very creepy. I’m interested in getting a copy of that story.


OK, here are some serious ones.

“God could not be everywhere, so He made mothers” – Jewish proverb

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” – Washington Irving

Zev Steinhardt

I read it in David G. Hartwell’s anthology, THE DARK DESCENT, which has been called the best one-volume collection of horror stories anywhere.

It IS one of the most ghastly stories ever written, and what makes it even more awful is that Clifford wrote it as a “moral tale” for CHILDREN.

I’ll dispute that. Read the original Grimm Fairy Tales. In the original Little Red Riding Hood, for example, nobody gets saved and a wolf gets fed.

Good, wholesome entertainment for the rugrats of Mideval Germany.

In the original Cinderella, the evil stepsisters’ feet were mutilated (heels and toes chopped off) to get them to fit. The Prince noticed the blood each time, ixnaying those prospective (and painfully ambitious) brides.

Those are the only ones I can recall. Modern tales don’t hold a candle to that kinderfodder.

“Making the decision to have a child-it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” - Elizabeth Stone

You might find something useful at http://www.momof9splace.com/momquotes.html

Also “Mother is the word for God on the lips and hearts of children”


IIRC, the Grimms (who weren’t medieval at all; their collection of folktales was published in the early nineteenth century) changed the ending so she doesn’t get eaten. In older versions (e.g. Perreault’s) she usually doesn’t get saved. That doesn’t mean it’s not a moral tale – in fact, the ending is more pointed when Red gets eaten because it says “This is what happens when you talk to wolves/don’t obey your parents/flirt with strange men/whatever.” Perreault’s version is pretty explicit about this. (And indeed, most older moral tales I know are pretty ghastly…)

BTW, you can find both the Grimm and Perreault versions here, along with a couple of gory French and Italian folk versions. In the French version, as in the Grimms’, she escapes, but in the Italian version she ends up as an ogre (not a wolf) snack. Grandma only survives in the Grimm version.


Okay, I’ll concede that if you’re looking to read your kids some good mutilation fiction, you can’t go wrong with the Classics.

But I’ll stand by “The New Mother” for inciting the REAL screaming meemies.

Mother-abandonment, plus mother-replacement by some sort of inhuman creature, hinted at but never witnessed (except for the sound, inside the closed-up house, of the heavy wooden tail being dragged along the floor) seems to really push all those toddlers’ buttons, knowwhadImean?

You guys (and gals) are the best! She’s going to go with either Alice Walker or one of the Jewish Proverbs. Thank you all so much.

Now I suggest we take the thread’s hijack and make it the topic. It’s very interesting, especially all the different versions of “Little Red Riding Hood.”

Ukulele Ike, thank you or the title of the story; I’ll definitely look it up.


My source is the inestimable work “An Underground Education,” a book about all of the history you don’t learn in school (or anywhere else). Here’s a brief sample of an Original Fairy Tale:

Sleeping Beauty (Italy, 1636), named Talia, was awakened by an awkward birth. Prince Charming, finding her laying on that bed from poisoned flax, raped her. The Prince ran off, leaving her to be awakened nine months later by the birth of twins. Fortunately, faries feed her and her infants, as she has been locked in her mansion.

The Prince, now a king, remembering his previous exploits nine months prior, comes back to Talia and finds himself a father, so he tells Talia who he is. “A great friendship and a strong bond sprang up between them, and he lingered several days in her company,” to quote from the original. While he was away the second time, the king kept muttering ‘Talia, Talia,’ and the names of their children (Sun and Moon). The queen, who does not know of Talia (kingy-boy doesn’t rape and tell), becomes suspicious of this Talia her husband is always on about. So she bribes a servent to tell her, and then dispatches a messenger to send for Talia. The queen, in true regal fashion, dispatches the children and bakes them in meat pies (shades of Titus!) fit for a king. During the meal, the queen keeps muttering “Mangia, mangia; you are eating your own!” The king, tired of her rambling, shouts “Of course I’m eating my own. You didn’t bring anything to this marriage.” The queen, not satisfied, has Talia brought to her. The exchange goes something like this:

Queen: “So you’re the little bitch who’s giving me such a headache!”
Talia: “It’s not my fault! He raped me when I was drugged!”
Queen: “Light the bonfire and throw her in.”

Talia pleads with the queen, so the queen stays her execution if she will remove her jewel-encrusted clothes. (“Strip yourself naked. I’d be delighted.”) With each item of clothing she removes (bodice, dress, etc.), Talia screams. She screams loudest as she removes her last piece. Then the queen’s men drag the naked teenager to the bonfire.

The king takes this chance to walk in, saving Talia. He asks after the children and screams when he’s told the secret ingredient of the pies. He has the queen and the double-crossing servant tossed into the bonfire. He orders the cook thrown in, but the cook claims that the children were never killed: He grilled up some lamb, instead. The cook’s wife marches in with the twins. The king marries Talia and they live Happily Ever After.

Moral: “Good things happen to lucky people, even when they’re sleeping.”

So, rape is a Good Thing now?

The others go about the same: Take the gore factor up a few notches, and throw in a few sexual perversions to keep the fathers of the anklebiters listening. :smiley: