“When she is with them she is not herself; when she is without them she is not herself; and so it is as difficult to leave your children as it is to stay with them. To discover this is to feel that your life has become irretrievably mired in conflict, or caught in some mythic snare in which you will perpetually, vainly struggle.”
~ Rachel Cusk , A Lifes Work
A selection of portraits of mothers located around Australia.
Before having children of my own I feel like I was only presented with a distorted, partial view of what it looked like to be a mother. I would see babies and young children in films and tv shows silent, happy and clean. Mothers were at best a little flustered but still kempt and composed.
Yet this has not been my reality or the reality of any other mothers that I know. Where is the snot, the tears of both mother and child, the anxiety or the blown out nappies. Or the leaking, healing and forever changed bodies of the women who had grown and birthed those babies. The disconnected cultural constructions of motherhood seem unwilling to engage in the truth of it and this can surely serve no benefit when navigating the already extreme terrain of motherhood
Pregnancy, birth and motherhood is one of the most profound, deeply beautiful and intimate experiences a woman can experience yet it is also one of the most physically and emotionally challenging, relentless, demanding and claustrophobic . I want to reflect this double sided reality and engage equally with the stress, intensity and un motherhood .