Mary Wollstonecraft: The birth that caused my death and my post-mortem commercialisation

I erected temples and pillars of thoughts for women,

Ideals, reason, ambition, rights and self-affirmation.

I believed in my fallibility, a blemished human being,

I enlist myself across from all the men who preach.

Some say it is ironic: a feminist dying after childbirth.

I ask you: what would make me a more devoted feminist than giving birth to a daughter?


Your premise is deranged, motherhood is essential in feminism.

It encompasses all women and men, childless or not. I perished

As I tried to create a family. It is a tricky act after all, not to be

Underestimated. I never did. I knew the risks and yet I chose creation.

Don’t mock me for trying to be a better woman, to urge the betterment of men.

How can giving life not be a feminist endeavour amongst the many?


Nurturing an unfettered mind with values, ideals, contemplations and purpose?

Let me speak to you, Mary, my daughter carrying the same name as me.

We found our voice in-between the lines, and they resonate, inseparably.

The moment you left my body I had known you your whole life.

I’ve felt you grow, within, without, mind to mind, we had our constellation.

Despite the hauntings of tragedy, we left ourselves behind, our humane legacies.


William, we belonged to one another and grief may be a derailing force of nature.

The loss of me brought you into an unchartered territory where you lost the sense for

Our love when it had been alive and two-sided. You thought you’d written an ode and

Maybe you did and it is pure in its intentions, but the object you manifested amongst the

Public dragged my person through the mud for decades and I could barely recover

Post-mortem. Everything that I was free to do, free to choose, in integrity with my spirit

And female body, sexuality, suicide, illegitimacy, the good and the bad of me,

You unleashed, not to cure yourself, not to remember me wholeheartedly, but

To sensationalise your wife, the feminist, the writer, the woman, to reduce

My accomplishments to the possession and exhumation of abused memories of me.

mary wollstonecraft_by_john_opie_(c._1797)

“Mary Wollstonecraft” by John Opie (1761-1807)

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