Motherhood and Writing

Antonia Malchik’s essay “One Woman’s Meat“makes my heart sing.

“The absence of mothers still penetrates literature, even today when the call to listen to and publish diverse voices is making its first dents in the traditional canon. Writing by mothers can be easy to dismiss, especially if the writer happens to be writing about the experience of motherhood itself—a subject treated so derisively that it spawned the term “mommy blogger.” A scornful way to turn our backs on women’s efforts to make some sense of this visceral, maddening, joyful, terrifying experience. A high-minded dismissal of mothers’ attempts to find some connection and community, places where we can share stories of motherhood’s various challenges and the ways in which they burrow deep into every individual mother, permanently changing her sense of self.”

“…There are two billion mothers in the world. The way that these mothers raise their children to be eventual adults has an impact on everyone around them. Yet we still behave as if those mothers’ stories—our stories—are somehow lesser.”

“…Motherhood exposes us to our raw animal instincts; the domestic life keeps us bound to the rhythms of the planet and the passing of our numbered days. Are we so afraid to admit that these subjects are just as worthy of our attention and accolades as any other narrative?”

“…How we assess the value of this the chewiest, densest area of our lives taints how we perceive a woman’s literary treatment of anything at all. Women won’t get published equitably until this kind of work, this daily living, is held to be as truly valuable and individual as the rest of society’s experiences. There is fat and bone in the way we raise children, clean house, and strive to keep ourselves whole. Just as there is fiber and sinew in the way women fall in love, pursue astronomy, research World War II, trek through Patagonia, experience heartbreak and betrayal. There’s meat there, if we would only taste it.”

(Post 161 of 365)

 

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