Meaning of “This Woman’s Work” by Kate Bush

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“This Woman’s Work” by Kate Bush is a deeply emotional and poignant song that delves into themes of vulnerability, strength, and the complexities of life’s transitions. It’s a heartfelt tribute to the process of facing and overcoming life’s challenges, particularly from the perspective of a man witnessing the struggles of a woman close to him. The song masterfully captures the essence of empathy and support, urging listeners to acknowledge and appreciate the silent battles and resilience of women. Kate Bush wrote this song to express the intense emotions and the sense of helplessness that can accompany witnessing a loved one in pain, emphasizing the importance of compassion and understanding in times of need. It’s a powerful reminder of the strength and endurance inherent in the human spirit, and the song resonates with anyone who has experienced or witnessed life’s profound moments of challenge and change.

Eager to uncover the layers of emotion and meaning in “This Woman’s Work”? Dive deeper with us as we explore the intricacies of Kate Bush’s masterpiece, revealing the story and sentiment woven into every line.

“This Woman’s Work” Lyrics Meaning

The opening lines, “Pray God you can cope / I stand outside this woman’s work / This woman’s world,” immediately set the tone for the song’s exploration of empathy and support. It speaks to the daunting tasks and emotional labor often shouldered by women, acknowledging the weight of these responsibilities and the strength required to bear them. The mention of standing outside this woman’s work suggests an observer’s perspective, highlighting the song’s theme of witnessing and empathizing with someone else’s struggles.

As the song progresses, “Ooh, it’s hard on the man / Now his part is over / Now starts the craft of the father,” reflects a transition in roles, particularly in the context of childbirth and parenting. It hints at the changing dynamics in a relationship when facing new challenges, emphasizing the emotional and physical toll it takes on both individuals.

The repeated lines, “I know you have a little life in you yet / I know you have a lot of strength left,” serve as a rallying cry for perseverance and hope. They underscore the belief in the resilience of the human spirit, urging the listener to recognize the enduring power and determination that lies within, even in the face of adversity.

Bush captures the essence of regret and longing in the lines, “I should be crying, but I just can’t let it show / I should be hoping, but I can’t stop thinking.” These words convey the internal conflict and the difficulty of expressing vulnerability, reflecting on missed opportunities for expression and action. The desire to turn back time and rectify these oversights speaks to a universal human experience of regret and the wish for redemption.

The plea, “Oh, darling, make it go / Make it go away,” reveals a deep-seated desire to alleviate pain and suffering. It’s a call for relief, not just for the person undergoing the hardship but also for the observer, highlighting the shared burden of emotional pain.

Why Was “This Woman’s Work” Written?

Kate Bush composed “This Woman’s Work” during a period of reflection on the strength and resilience required to navigate life’s most challenging moments. Inspired by the movie “She’s Having a Baby,” where the song underscores a particularly intense childbirth scene, Bush taps into the deep wells of empathy, fear, and unconditional love that accompany such pivotal life events. The song was written from a place of deep emotion and a desire to articulate the complex feelings associated with watching a loved one in pain, emphasizing the importance of support, understanding, and the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Through “This Woman’s Work,” Bush invites listeners to acknowledge the often unseen emotional labor and resilience of those around them, offering a poignant reminder of the power of compassion and the enduring capacity for hope and strength in the face of adversity.