Lizzie Lovejoy is a poet and artist from the North East of England. Born in Darlington, raised in County Durham, Lovejoy has dedicated their life to celebrating and exploring the culture and heritage of their Northern home. With each new project, Lovejoy explores what it really means to be a working class person in the North East, and question the line between fulfilling expectations and making the best choices for yourself.

The Story

My concepts of Home, Family and Working-Class heritage is entwined with my Northerness. They cannot be separated from one another. Over the past year I have been able to focus on these three elements while considering the larger question of: "What Does It Mean to be Northern?"

These are a few images that came out of exploring the Tees Valley coast line and my home in it. The poems explore the growing debate among myself and my friends about our futures in parenthood.

My poetry can be heard spoken on the Live Stream on Friday 19th November.

To Be A Mother

Who'd have thought the hardest parts
would be the pieces I hold to my heart?
The messy bits, the worst of days
the "I don't need sleep anyway's"
When four hours a night can be a blessing
and new cold symptoms begin intense stressing

Concrete running and belly laughs
His first walks on my old paths
and I am right there
I can't help but stare

in amazement as he explores
with that gleeful expression I adore
followed by a shout
as I take the newest object out
of his mouth again.

I didn't know I wanted this.
I had seen it as a choice,
to love and be a mother
would be to sacrifice my voice.
But I know they aren't separate worlds
and I value my worth
to be working and to love living
to be a person who gives birth.

And what a birth.

I had to be the first to hold you,
I knew I'd be the first to try to
but first I knew I had to catch you
in the bath where you were born.

And suddenly it was us.
You were more than idea we would discuss
Physical. Tangible. Believable. 

I didn't know
how bright you would glow

You stare at the bright lights
Feel the exploding sound
of the fireworks all around

And I know I'd never trade
a single game you've played.
Any 4am screams
Any short live night dreams
I'd keep the keep the last straws and the "I've had its"

You make me love the messy bits.

To NOT Be A Mother

I was not made for you
the child I will never bare
and those children I will always care
their journeys.
Even now they are grown
I have always known
that I was not made for you.

I was a child myself
when my health
took a dive
and though hardly alive
I poured my heart
into every part
of the people around me
who surround me
with their questions and their traumas
I let me own sit dormant
walking on the ledge
talking loved ones off the edge
of their own fears
and into their ambitions.

But I built my own ambitions
around these conditions
around all of you
and you grew
and you flew
the nest
we did our best
and you are so strong now…
But I can see
the cracks left in me
the barren, cavern
of what I cannot be.

I was taught to believe
that I would conceive
one day
and I would play
out the vision of an ideal
but it could not be real
that story cannot be true
My child, I was not made for you.

And it may
Bruise you
that I did not
Choose you
And it hurts knowing
even if I’m one day showing
I could still loose you.

I'm sorry, my child

I was not made for you.