Amber Tamblyn's Mother's Day Poem For Her Daughter Is An Honest Work Of Art
As an actress and activist extraordinaire, Amber Tamblyn welcomed her first child — a daughter named Marlow — into the world amid a blaze of feminist glory in February. Back in October, she publicly shared the story of her own sexual assault to combat a presidential candidate who allegedly treated women as objects; she remained adamant in her rejection of this treatment of women after Donald Trump was elected, too. So, it's no surprise that, in honor of her first time celebrating the holiday as a mom, Amber Tamblyn penned her daughter a Mother's Day poem — or that the poem itself is a moving work of art that spans both national politics and the personal.
Titled "Y for YES," the poem was published on Amy Poehler's Smart Girls and explores Tamblyn's experience of carrying a child during a political season that saw the rise of a candidate who once famously bragged about grabbing women "by the p---y" and who has been forced to deny multiple accusations of sexual assault.
But it's also a meditation on motherhood and what it means bring a girl into Trump's America. And by including a photo of her C-section scar and including vivid and beautiful descriptions of the procedure ("Yes, my abdomen opened/ like an eye and I blinked you / into being") Tamblyn even helps to confront the stigma associated with non-vaginal births, too.
Using such glowing prose, Tamblyn eloquently weaves together her own pregnancy and birth story and the larger context during which those momentous personal experiences played out. "Yes. I built you brave and terrified / in the summer of pre-election disaster," she wrote. " Yes. I carried you in my world / as the outside one / crumbled."
Just weeks before the November presidential election, Tamblyn wrote a searing essay for Glamour in which she announced she was pregnant and reflected on what it would be for then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to be elected the nation's first female president. She anticipated the moment when she would cast her ballot:
I'll be voting for more than just a woman; I'll be voting for a revolutionary idea. I'll be voting for a future for my daughter where conversations about our bodies and our lives are broader than what value they have for men. A future where being a mother is less about warning our daughters about our sons and is instead lifting them up to their greatest potential.
It was an incredibly poignant piece of writing, especially because Tamblyn had just shared the story of her sexual assault weeks earlier in response to the revelation that Trump had bragged about treating women in such a way.
Of course, the election didn't turn out the way Tamblyn had hoped. The outcome was brutal on her as she wrote in then "Y for YES":
Yes. I broke down in a bathroom / the day being a woman / became a national threat. / You kicked between my ribs, / the devastation beating / between our shared hearts.
But Tamblyn didn't let the blow defeat her. She referred to attending the historic Women's March the day after Trump's inauguration, against her doctor's orders, but also "against a system / that wants our lives / not lived."
And with that, Tamblyn showed her daughter the strength and resilience of a woman, of all women and girls. It's clear that because little Marlow will grow up surrounded by such messages and such a strong feminist role model in her mother, she's well on her way to joining their ranks.