Motherhood & Words

In deference to the breastfeeding gods, I am hosting the FIRST EVER mastitis haiku contest right here at Mother Words.

How to enter: Think hard about mastitis. Write a haiku about it. Type your haiku in the comments field of this post.

Note: You need not have experienced mastitis to write a haiku or to win. I am enlisting my two sisters as judges. One has had mastitis, the other has not. Both love a funny haiku. The winner will be chosen Friday, May 30th and will receive a $10 gift card to Only one entry per person.

To get you started, I’ll leave you with this:

kate’s mastitis haiku

Breast and body ache
Plugged ducts, oh how I hate thee
Calgon take me now

I clearly expect to be outdone.

Posted in


I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Andria on May 23, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Mastitis: A Haiku

    e-mail said: “mass tits”
    it must have been the spell check
    which one would be worse?

  2. Emmie (Better Make It A Double) on May 23, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    OK – had two bad bouts of mastitis and several plugged ducts. The “dangle feed” (nursing while leaning over the baby, best done on a bed or on the floor) saved me from more bouts of actual mastitis, as did aggressive self-massage. I always remember my OB saying, as she noticed the angry red line on my breast, “well, this is the kind of thing that used to sometimes you before antibiotics”. Anyway, here goes – true story, never since discussed, thankfully:

    Feed with dangling breast
    Good for mastitis, they say
    Dad-in-law walks in

  3. Emmie (Better Make It A Double) on May 23, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    Um, meant to say “sometimes kill you”.

  4. stace on May 24, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Fever, chills–surprise!
    Needles jabbing through my breasts
    Wish I had the flu.

  5. **camera shy momma** on May 26, 2008 at 12:51 am

    what a wonderful idea kate! i mean, considering the topic! 🙂

    Meredith’s Mastitis Haiku:

    shivering with babe
    at breast full of fire hot milk
    someone help me now!

    phone call to midwife
    she reassures, prescribes heat
    heard of crushed cabbage?

    i will try anything please
    Phytolacca heals.

  6. American_in_Cairo on May 26, 2008 at 8:41 am

    I’m not even touching this contest but found your haiku quite funny. Thanks!

  7. Andria on May 26, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    I know I can’t vote, but I vote for Emmie’s.

    I do wonder if it would have better or worse for her dad-in-law to walk in on the “aggressive self-massage”….

    Are you feeling better, Kate?

  8. kate hopper on May 27, 2008 at 9:55 am

    These are killing me. Keep them coming. I wondered whether walking in on Emmie’s agressive self-massage would be worse, as well Andria. But I now consider myself a pro at it, and seem to do it wherever I am these days…the front yard, Target, etc.

  9. Soon to Be First Time Mom on May 29, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Expectant Haiku….

    Thirty-two weeks now,
    Reflux: Used to seem quite bad
    Posts arouse New Fears

  10. rwhopper on June 2, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Wow, these haikus were truly funny to read, and I’m a big fan of funny haikus. Nothing funny about mastitis while in its evil throes, but it does tend to make for good stories later – both in giving a lighter slant to the dark hours of breastfeeding, and in highlighting the strength of women in their journey through motherhood.

    You don’t know me, but I’m Kate’s younger sister, Rachel. I had some raging mastitis that set in exactly 1 week after I gave birth to my son. My favorite memory is Kate coming over to visit me after I went to the doctor for antibiotics. I’ve memorialized this visit with a haiku of my own:

    Let me see, she says
    Almost vomits in her mouth
    Does it look that bad????

    Anyway, it’s difficult for me to be a judge…first, because I’m no expert on haikus; and second, because I have a hard time making decisions. But, if I had to choose just one, my vote goes to: Emmie. The image of your father-in-law walking in on you gave me a hearty laugh!

  11. sara on June 2, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Hi everyone. I’m Kate’s older sister Sara. I’m the sister who has never had mastitis. I am also not a mother and not pregnant, but I’m definitely neurotic, so should I become pregnant at any point in the future I am very, very afraid I might get mastitis (among a long list of other fears). I therefore have to throw my vote to the “expectant haiku.” In particular, I would like to applaud the use of capital letters with respect to New Fears. Because my youngest sister Rachel and I have split our votes, I will leave it to Kate to determine an equitable means for awarding the gift certificate. I enjoyed reading everyone’s entries!

  12. haiku mother’s day! | Motherhood & Words on May 23, 2012 at 9:43 am

    […] For the story of how this haiku contest began, click here. […]