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Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts

23 January 2017

When is being a mom an accomplishment?

Image by Erik Kastner on Flickr
When Yvonne Brill died in 2013, her New York Times obituary famously led with her culinary skills. Her beef Stroganoff masked her innovative work on a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits. The feminist internet clapped back until the NYTimes edited the dish out.

Last week Brenda Barnes, former CEO of Sara Lee, died. The Chicago Sun-Times framed her professional accomplishments along with her title of "Perfect Mom." Fortune called her a hero to working moms.     

I remember reading about her stepping down to attend to her children during their teen years and then later her ramping back up. For a bit, I quite obsessed about Barnes. Why wouldn't I be? In Barnes returned to full-time employment in 2004 I was still a rookie mom with big career aspirations. Anytime I have big dreams, I scour the world for role models to study as if to find clues as to how I can replicate their success. I was still operating under the adage that under no circumstances does a working woman take more than a year off from work if she wanted to stay at the top of her field. I was still healing from being burned by being pushed out of an org after taking family leave from feminist organizing. What magic did she have?

I feel like I saw her speak once. Most likely at some women's professional conference here in Chicago. Or maybe I just read about her enough that I feel like I saw her speak. The two lessons I took away from her was 1) never truly stop working. Fortune mentions this, but belittles her board work while as a "stay at home mom":
she stayed on the sidelines serving as a director on numerous Fortune 500 boards.
This ignores the time and commitment necessary for such board work and the pay. Sure she wasn't a CEO or President of a company, but she was working. Fast Company outlines her "stay at home mom" duties as:
Unlike some women executives who have famously dropped out, Barnes did not go home to write her memoirs or devote herself to charity and her children's soccer schedules. She just chose what is, for her, a less demanding path: She serves on the board of six major companies, among them Sears, Avon, and The New York Times; she's taught at the Kellogg School of Management, and stepped in as interim president of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in early 2000.
The Wall Street Journal similarly noted her work when she was hired at Sara Lee in May 2004.  Never stop working is advice often told to women who want to take extended time off for caregiving. Stay connected to your workplace via committee work, mentoring younger coworkers, etc.

The second lesson I think learned is that Barnes downshifted her career during her eldest kids' teen years. She said something about how the time when they least want you around is actually when they need you the most. As my daughter is now in her teens, I think about that a lot. I  have heard it said by other moms too. I repeat it to others.

Every piece written about her since her death remarks about her role in the never-ending juggle that working moms contend with. Few note that she never really did stop working, she just downshifted. None truly acknowledge the privilege she had to downshift in the first place or how easy it was for her to on-ramp back to the top.

I do think she will always be important to the story of working moms, as I have said, I learned a lot from her. But other women have helped me see the holes in her story, the holes that leave too many mothers without much choice to downshift or even go back to work when they want. I would hope she would want us to notice those wrinkles too.

Thanks, Brenda. Goddess bless you and your family.

10 May 2015

Some Mother's Day Writing For You


I made it into the NYTimes, folks! I wrote an op-ed about how the perfect gift for Mother's Day is a selfie. It stems from the fact that I do not have a lot of photos with my mom. Please check it out and share widely.



I also wrote a Mother's Day piece for LatinaMom.me about learning to love Mother's Day again:
It has been 12 years since I've had a mom. It has also been 12 years since I became a mom. The cognitive dissonance can be overwhelming and becomes unbearable as we build up to Mother's Day. My mom died at the start of my third trimester, as I was pregnant with her much-requested first grandchild. And it sucks more and more every Mother's Day. But every year, I also grow to love Mother's Day in a new way.

Soon after my mom's death, I let my subscription to Mother Jones lapse because their renewal notices had marketing copy on the envelopes that read: "Your Mother Wants to Hear from You!" In my head was a litany of curse words about my mother not being able to want much of anything anymore, $%#@#$'ers! This should have been an early warning for the eventual turn of the calendar, which would bring me to not only my first Mother's Day as a mom, but also my first Mother's Day without one.

My husband did his best. He bought a gift and signed the card from our 9-month-old daughter. But inside, I was emotionally unavailable to truly celebrate that moment. When writing this piece, I went back through my blog archives to see what I have written in the past about this awkward relationship I have with Mother's Day and I found a short piece I wrote when my daughter was able to reframe the day about me:
Read the rest at Latinamom.me. 

It is funny that I went years without really talking about losing my mom and then in the last six months I have written about her three times. For some people talking about things is healing. Apparently I need to write about things a lot. Especially since losing my mom impacted so many different parts of my life.

And let's end this by acknowledging the radical origin of Mother's Day!
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe
Boston
1870

13 April 2015

Book Review: It Runs in the Family by Frida Berrigan

Half way through Frida Berrigan’s contribution to mom lit, It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing Into Rebellious Motherhood, I thought this was the best book ever. I even said in my Goodreads update that it was so good that I could put my aspirations of writing a book on motherhood to bed. Now that I am done with her part-mothering book, part-memoir, I can say that I still might give mine a go, but this is certainly one the best books about raising children I have ever read.

Berrigan is the daughter of acclaimed peace activist Philip Berrigan. Some of us might know his name from the Dar Williams song, I Had No Right, which depicts Phillip and his brother Daniel’s trial for burning draft cards. Frida was raised in strict accordance to her parents’ dedication to the peace movement which included a commitment to living as simply as possible and shunning good ole’ fashioned American consumerism. As a former priest and nun, Frida’s parents also raised them to live by Jesus’ example. This meant working for social justice on behalf of the poor and oppressed, not condoning homosexuality and women’s rights. As I have heard many a Catholic say, they lived according to Jesus’ actions not the Church’s teachings.

As someone who has tried very hard to raise my daughter from a feminist perspective, I admire how well Frida and her husband have maintained their commitment to living according to their beliefs. They maintain a family on one salary in order to stay just below an income level that relieves them from paying any income taxes to the government. Thus they are not supporting the war efforts through this mechanism. This vow of sustainable living means that Frida can mention her ancient flip-phone and the fact her children have little technology in their lives. “What does that look like in practice? Potluck dinners, composting, knowing our neighbors, belong to the community garden and the food cop-op…” and her list goes on to mention every hippie parent stereotype.

If that seems judgmental, I concur. There were plenty of places where I felt Frida is lecturing us smart phone-social media addicted parents into living simpler lives. I don’t disagree with her assessment either. Most of my friends with kids know we too often open up our phones when we should be enjoying family time. It can be difficult to then ask one’s child to then be “polite” with their smart phone when they grew up watching you on yours. Ahem…In fact Frida’s book may be the thing that keeps you from looking at your phone 10 times during soccer practice and only a few times.

I have been asked many times over my tenure as a mom how one is a feminist mom. What Frida does with her book is to outline how one is not just a feminist mom, but one that centers daily living around peace and justice. She connects many of our daily actions (gadget lust) to its place in the overall system that continues to keep poor people in poverty, but also has destroyed the middle class. Instead of dismissing the book as a piece of judgmental crap, I find it quite aspirational. What are we doing to ourselves, our family, and our community when we strive for the bigger paycheck, latest phone, and private lessons for our children?

Frida not only reflects on her upbringing the sacrifices her family made in their quest for social justice, but also the state of our society. As a child, Frida’s parents were often the front lines of many peace demonstrations and committing acts of nonviolent disobedience. Her parents were often arrested and spent time in prison. Her recollection of the one time they were both in prison at the same time and left in the care of friends is heartbreaking. After that mistake, her parents made sure to never be incarcerated at the same time again. While some might question ever being arrested while raising children, Frida makes a point to defend her parents political strategies as part of their parenting style. When one becomes a parent, the rest of our self does not die. We may be more careful, but we cannot stop being who we are just because we brought a life into the world. It is a delicate balance that Frida describes well.

And that is the flip of Frida’s judgmental look at parenting. She spends a good amount of time reliving us from modern parenting guilt. Her take on the insanity that is children’s birthday parties is spot on. The state of having to have an equally opulent party from the last kid is only teaching our children to buy bigger and better toys than their classmate. One that parents will wish we hadn’t taught then when the toys start to cost hundreds of dollars.

As militant as you may start to think Frida is with her dedication to a social justice parenting style, her admission as to rebellious ways is heartwarming. As a child the family did not allow a lot of TV time, yet she admits to sneaking TV at friends’ homes and lying about it. Yes, instead of becoming right-wingers, Frida and her brother watch TV. But within this admission, Frida asks us to acknowledge that “children are little insurrectionists” and to stop and learn from their rebellions instead of clamping down on the situation. Again, another lesson to keep in mind as my husband and I begin our journey of parenting a teenager

But this lesson is also a moment where Frida asks us to look at our beliefs and actions. Is it more important for us to have our children use the correct terminology or to act in a socially just and feminism manner? What good is it for us to teach our children the “political correct” way to refer to people if they never interact with people outside their homogenous social circle?

I like to say that I am a feminist who constantly tries to connect the dots, that my commitment to reproductive justice is more than just abortion rights. The way that Frida tackles issues is very similar. As she begins to wax on about the state of women's health in relation to birthing in the USA, she quickly whips it back to the so-called "right to life" community and their lack of action on behalf of children's rights.

Best of all, Frida is forthright about how children turn our lives upside down, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Ok, sure we would want a better child care system, paid maternity leave and all that, but the whole juggle is tough, but can be pretty awesome too. "It Runs in the Family" is a refreshing take on parenting while pursuing social justice in the world.

Disclaimer: I received a copy for review from a publicist. 

27 December 2014

Book Release: Intensive Mothering: The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood


Demeter Press is pleased to announce the release of:

INTENSIVE MOTHERING: THE CULTURAL CONTRADICTIONS OF MODERN MOTHERHOOD

Edited by Linda Rose Ennis

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Sharon Hays' landmark book, The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood, this collection will revisit Hays' concept of "intensive mothering" as a continuing, yet controversial representation of modern motherhood. In Hays' original work, she spoke of "intensive mothering" as primarily being conducted by mothers, centered on children's needs with methods informed by experts, which are labour-intensive and costly simply because children are entitled to this maternal investment. While respecting the important need for connection between mother and baby that is prevalent in the teachings of Attachment Theory, this collection raises into question whether an over-investment of mothers in their children's lives is as effective a mode of parenting, as being conveyed by representations of modern motherhood. In a world where independence is encouraged, why are we still engaging in "intensive motherhood?"

"This volume revisits Sharon Hay's groundbreaking work to productively re-examine her contributions in light of changing cultural discourse about motherhood in 21st century Western cultures. Focusing on a breadth of topics by examining the complexities of motherhood from various perspectives, Intensive Mothering demonstrates with keen insight how this ideology has been reinforced, revised, and challenged in relation to women's evolving relationships to work and family. The volume also adds nuance to the field of motherhood studies by accounting for how consumerism and capitalism have complicated expectations and identities of motherhood and mothering in the last two decades."

-Jennifer L. Borda, Associate Professor of Communication, The University of New Hampshire

"Without question this topic is highly significant and important. Given the predominance of intensive mothering ideology defining 'good motherhood' in North America, it is absolutely crucial to critique and assess what this means for mothers, children, families and North American society."

-Melinda Vandenbeld Giles, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Editor, Mothering in the Age of Neoliberalism

"In this text, Dr. Linda Ennis has compiled a thorough and thought-provoking array of articles examining how the dictates of intensive mothering have become the predominant ideology disciplining contemporary mothers. This text is a must read for anyone wishing to gain a more in-depth understanding of the emotional, physical, financial, and psychological consequences of mothering intensively by both the individual and Western society at large."

-Tanja Tudhope, Producer and Maternal Scholar

Dec. 2014 / $34.95 / ISBN 978-1-927335-90-1 / 6 x 9 / 343 pp.

Please visit http://demeterpress.org/IntensiveMothering.html for details on how to order this new title!

13 August 2014

The Tragedy and Beauty of Mom Blogging

I've been blogging forever, well before Ella was a reality, when she was still just a glimmer in my eye. Before I became a "mom blogger," I was just a feminist blogger ranting about the world and George W. Bush's occupation of the White House. But as any woman who starts making friends in her mid-twenties quickly realizes, people start to have babies. And soon enough I did too.

The beauty of mom blogging is that it is a way for us to connect with other new moms, to share our joys and fears. When we find a mom blogger who has kids just a big older than our newborns, she becomes our big sister or super cool cousin, who can talk us down from our daily "I AM THE WORST MOM EVER!" ledge. That is who Dawn Friedman became to me. We met online when she was just embarking on the journey to add her daughter to her family. The fact she had a son who was maybe 6 or 7 at the time meant she knew how to survive the early days of the mamahood. And boy, did she ever come in handy.

Around the time Ella entered our lives, Madison entered Dawn's. I was nervous for the very open adoption the family was participating in. Last week Dawn shared a video of Madison rocking out on the drums. That tiny baby Dawn had brought home was dancing to her own beat. I then looked at Ella and realized she was too.

Then a few days ago, Noemi Martinez, aka Hermana Resist, someone I have known online about the same length of time I've known Dawn, posted that her youngest, Winter, wouldn't wake up. Shaking, calling her name, cold compresses...nothing was waking this beautiful creative girl. Today Noemi is holding vigil at Winter's bedside, still awaiting word on what happened to her girl. During this scary time, medical bills are piling up and there is a GoFundMe page to help the family out.

Mom blogging gets a lot of shit dumped on it. Here we are, moms who should be playing with our kids or making dinner, writing about the ups and downs of raising a small human being. But what I have consistently said is that we are creating our own communities. And with that, for some of us, extended families. Because this shit is hard and we need to vent sometimes! And yes, sometimes boast.

I cried with joy watching Madison on the drums. I've watched from afar as she has been growing up, read Dawn's writing on the challenges that open adoption does present, remembering that our girls both enjoy our squishy bellies, and being stunned that Dawn's son, Noah, is old enough to have a job.

Today my heart breaks at the pain that Noemi is going through awaiting her baby girl to wake up and life to go back to normal. I have enjoyed reading her Facebook updates on how Winter and her big brother, River, have been testing out the limits of teenage independence, how they have debates about Star Trek and Star Wars, and create zines together.

And there you have it. Blogging is not just a platform or a way to get your ideas out into the world, it is a means of connecting with people. With that connecting is the joy of births, marriages, new jobs, and simple happy days. But it also comes with the pain of deaths, divorces, depression (ours or our kids), failed journeys, and sickness.

At the end of the day, I do not see all the people who I have connected with my network, but parts of my family. Some more than others. And with that, their kids feel like nieces and nephews to me. So yes, my dear Noemi, she is our Winter. May she come home soon.

REMINDER: Noemi has a a GoFundMe page to help with the growing medical bills. Please give what you can.

12 August 2014

New Release from Demeter Press: Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates


Demeter Press is pleased to announce the release of:


Edited by Elizabeth Reid Boyd and Gayle Letherby

July 2014 / $39.95 / ISBN 978-1-927335-44-4 / 6 x 9 / 322 pp.

***This collection is included in our 50% off sale until September 1st!
Please use coupon code MOTHER***

This book includes a remarkably diverse range of voices and perspectives on the under-researched topic of mothers electing to stay at home to care for their children or returning home after being in the paid workforce. As the first international collection of its kind, it explores with sensitivity and insight some of the deep cultural, personal and policy tensions around stay-at- home mothering. Elizabeth Reid Boyd and Gayle Letherby draw together contemporary social science research, media analyses and reflections on the lived experience of mothers. This book is distinguished by its openness, moving beyond familiar stereotypes and toward a different way of thinking about this important issue.
-Julie Stephens, College of Arts, Victoria University

This collection addresses an important sphere of debate about which everyone has an opinion and many have experience but rarely has it been the topic of thoughtful reflection and research. The conundrum of maternity in the present globalizing post- industrial neo-liberal world offers difficult dilemmas and often contradictory flows of emotion, ethics, and economics which impact us all. This volume goes some way to begin seriously addressing these quandaries, appealing to a range of subject positions and maternities.
-Alison Bartlet, Discipline Chair, Gender Studies, The University of Western Australia

Also...If you write a review of a Demeter Press book on GoodReads by August 7th, you will be entered a Demeter book of your choice.

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

07 July 2014

Indra Nooyi & the Myth of "Having it All"

Recent comments made by Indra Nooyi, the current CEO of PepsiCo, has been making the rounds on my Twitter and Facebook feed. I poke my head up to read such things when stories like this seem to cross the borders of my feminist friends and my friends who are feminists, but don't share every feminist story. The gist is that Nooyi at Aspen Ideas Week said the not-so-radical statement:
I don't think women can have it all. I just don't think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all...every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother...
yet the media acts as if she is shattering a commandment. Mashable goes on to report that, "Nooyi says there's no way to square a high-pressure career with raising kids."

So let's take this one step at a time.

If anyone under 40 still believes in the "women can have it all" fairytale, STOP NOW. I truly believe the only women who really, really believe women can "have it all" are those who grew up in the 70s and 80s. Who saw women head out into the workforce with their linebacker shoulder pads, limp ties and "fried up the bacon they brought home."



But us younger GenXers who slacked our way through the 90s know better...or at least should. We saw Hillary Rodham get ripped to shreds for trying to have a career while her husband ran for President. Soon enough she was "Hillary Clinton"...We got the message loud and clear. Just as the media in the 1980s might have sold career women on being Superwomen, reality showed us otherwise through countless examples in our lives.

Of course it didn't stop us from trying. And some of us falling on our faces. I'm hoping this annual examination of why women can't have it all will die off when Gen X and Millennials are in enough leadership positions to say, "Yeah, I never had it all..at once." Because that's what the truth of the matter is. We can try to have it all, but only over the course of our lifetimes. Hell, even Nancy Pelosi waited until the kids were practically grown to run for Congress.

So please, please, PLEASE, let's bury this conversation and for gawd's sake, stop asking women in leadership this question.

When my students ask me "how I did it all," I tell them that I don't. I don't sleep as much as I should. I don't do all the motherly things I "should." I also am not always the best wife. Because there are so only so many hours in the day and some things have to wait. You have to make sacrifices just as Nooyi says at Aspen.

What gets my goat is that Nooyi frames this conversation as something for women of her stature (or at least the piece frames it that way) when she talks about high-pressure careers, aka C-level stuff. Well, my job is far from a CEO position and it's still a jig to do what I do. There's still pressure to make it to all the school concerts that are in the middle of the freaking day. At the end of this past year, I asked my daughter if it was ok if I missed a concert as I just attended a dance recital and was busy getting ready for a business trip. She was fine with it. Or at least says she was.

Maybe I'm a bit over the whole "I'm a terrible mom" thing that Nooyi still seems hung up on. I get it, she's really getting home at 10 pm, which I still do school pick up. I rarely miss soccer games. I even volunteer for Girl Scouts, but it's a lot of careful planning. There's something to be said about embracing the role of "terrible mom" because a lot of guilt washes away. A lot...not all, ok? Honestly, I think Nooyi thinks this too, but for media reasons can't say it. You can't get as far as she has and seriously be that wracked by mom guilt. Gawd, I hope she is over it!

Look, I know bad mom stuff all too well. I just got tossed from a PhD program after spending four years studying when my family was out running errands and having fun on the weekends. I took homework everywhere with me. I often rolled my eyes when my daughter asked for help on her homework, thus interrupting my study time (PROTIP: Don't even attempt to study your own stuff with your kid), so I logged some major terrible mom miles. But she still snuggles up with me on the couch. As terrible of a mom as I have been, I'd say I'm still on the winning end. I know that's because the time I have spent with her has been quality time.

I also am the one, who after my husband worries that there's no milk for the morning, thinks, "Hey, we'll have toaster waffles instead of cereal!" If there's a lesson I can pass on to new moms or women aspiring to be moms...The milk can wait.

07 January 2014

#365FeministSelfies and my mother

Today is my mom's birthday. She would had been 58. That's me with her when I was about three years old. That's my puppy in my tiny hands! This is one of my favorite photos of my mom and me. And after she died in 2003, I realized it was one of the few photos I had of us together.

Today the #365FeministSelfie challenge is one week old. Apt that it falls on her birthday because of all the comments/captions I have been reading when people, mostly women, post their photos, the one that stands out is, "I want my kids to have more photos of us together after I'm gone." 
Back to 2003. 
My parents had moved from the Chicago are to North Carolina in 2000. As with any more, things are lost.  I always felt they lost a lot of photos.  And the suckiest part of someone dying is digging through boxes of photos. Can there be a worst time to dive into memory lane? GAWD! So there I was, by the way 6-months pregnant, digging for photos I swear we had. Finding piles of photos from family vacations and seeing photos of myself, my sisters, our dad, and all of us...except my mom. Oh, she'd pop in every once in awhile, but she clearly was the family photographer.
It may have a lot to do with the fact that film was precious. I bought my first digital camera just weeks before she died. She never owned one. When I was 10, I was tasked with taking photos of my newborn cousins. When we developed the film, there were far too many photos of my sisters and me having fun in Seattle and cousin photos didn't meet the ROI. Where today we might take a dozen photos to get it right, she directed us for minutes before she would click the camera. 
The past week has been overwhelming in the response to this challenge. I have met so many new people snapping pics of themselves with their kids, friends, godchildren, cats, dogs, blankets and winter hats. Someone I've never met, Cara, started a Facebook group for sharing photos. ZOMG! And so many of you have written about why you are participating (see sidebar for links). I am touched.
I started the year off thinking that I would like or heart all the photos on Instagram, share messages to the Flickr group. To say thanks for sharing yourselves with me and everyone else. But quite honestly the response has been intense, far more than I expected and since I do have a full-time job, I can't always like your photo. But know I'm trying to keep up!
In coming weeks I will post some theme-challenges to keep us from getting into a rut. If you have ideas on themes, just post in the comments or tweet me.
And if you are "late" to the challenge, jump in! 
 

04 November 2013

What about incarcerated mothers?

The plight of incarcerated mothers is an issue I don't write nearly enough about, but when I stop to think about it...well, I get, um, steamed. A few weeks ago, Maya Schenwar, executive director at Truthout, wrote about her sister's experience giving birth while incarcerated and then having her daughter taken away. In Illinois we have few options for women who want to bond with and nurse their newborns.

Friend of VLF, Matthew Filipowicz, spoke to Maya and I highly recommend you listen in. If you want to skip right to Maya, her segment starts at 14:38.


07 January 2013

CFP: Mothers and Work; Mothering as Work: Policy, Ideology, Experience, and Representation

CALL FOR PAPERS
Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) 
Mothers and Work; Mothering as Work:
Policy, Ideology, Experience, and Representation
June 24-27,2013,Toronto,Canada

The conference, taking place at the same time as the Academic Motherhood and the Communicating Mothers Conference will explore the topic of mothers and work and mothering as work across a wide range of perspectives and themes.

Topics include but are not limited to:
Work/Life Balance; "The Mommy Wars"; "Opting Out"; Maternal Activism; Motherhood Movements; Mothers and Leisure; Representations of Working Mothers and Mothering as Work in Literature, Film, Art, and Social Media; Mothers and Education; Other Mothering/Co-Mothering; Mothering and Migration; Migrant Mothers; Transnational Mothering/Mothers; Carework; Motherwork and Feminism; Maternal Thinking; Maternal Practice; Breastfeeding/Pregnancy and the Workplace; Reproductive Labour; Social Reproduction; Families; Fathering; Becoming a Mother; Mothers in Various Workplaces (Law, Academe, Theatre, The Arts, Medicine, Government etc); Narratives of Mothers at Work/Mothering as Work, Motherhood Studies and Maternal Theory on Work and Mothering; Young Mothers and Work; Empowered Mothering, Feminist Theory/Activism on Mothers/Work; Matricentric Feminism; Marginalized Mothers/Marginalized Work; Domestic Labour; Childcare; Mothers and Unions; Public Policy and Mothers; Maternity Leave, Politics and/of Mother Work; At-Home Mothers; Mothers and the Labour Movement; Histories of Mothers and Work/Mothering as Work'; Mothers and Daughters/Mothers and Sons; Mothering and Neo-Liberalism; LGBTQ Mothers and Work/Mothering as Work; Maternal Health and Wellbeing; Mothers and Poverty; Motherhood and Globalization; Disabled Mothers and Work/The Work of Mothering a Disabled Child; and Mothers and Work and the Law.

We invite submissions for papers as well as workshops from scholars, researchers, students, service providers and activists.

If you are interested in being considered as a presenter for either a paper
and/or workshop, please send a 250 word abstract, a 50-word bio by March 1, 2013 to aoreilly@yorku.ca

** TO SUBMIT AN ABSTRACT FOR THIS CONFERENCE, ONE MUST BE
A 2013 MEMBER of MIRCI: http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org

Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)
140 Holland St. West, PO Box 13022, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5


Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

02 January 2013

CFP: Seeking authors for chapters for "Mothering-Motherhood Across Differences in Maternal Subjectives/Experiences"

Demeter Press will be publishing an edited collection, A Reader, on Mothering-Motherhood Across Differences in Maternal Subjectives/Experiences. We have in place chapters on Latina Mothers, Aboriginal Mothers, Queer Mothers, Young Mothers and so forth. We are seeking chapters on the following mothers. Chapters will be approximately 25 pages in length and will explore theories on this particular group of mothers as well as the experiences of such mothers. The chapters will be due July 1, 2013. The  book will be published late 2013 or early 2014. If you are interested in writing a chapter on one of the following, please send a bio of your expertise on the topic by Jan 15, 2013 to Dr. Andrea O'Reilly, editor of the collection, aoreilly@yorku.ca. Information on Demeter Press available on our site www.demeterpress.org 

1) Older Mothers

2) Low Income/Poor Mothers

3) Single Mothers

4) Immigrant/Refuge/Migrant Mothers

5) Working Mothers

6) At-Home Mothers

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

14 May 2012

MIRCI CFP: Adrienne Rich Symposium, Oct. 20, Toronto


CALL FOR PAPERS

Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement 
(MIRCI)

ONE-DAY SYMPOSIUM ON ADRIENNE RICH
October 20, 2012, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

In celebration of the life and work of Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)
Poet, Essayist, Radical Feminist, Anti- War Activist, Mothering Theorist, and Author of Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Institution and Experience.

We welcome submissions from scholars, students, activists, workers, artists, and others inspired by the work of Adrienne Rich.

Cross-cultural, historical and comparative work is encouraged. We are open to a variety of types of submissions, such as: academic papers from all disciplines; presentations by community activists and social service providers; creative submissions - performances, films, storytelling, visual arts; and workshops.  

Please send a 250-word abstract and 50-word bio to aoreilly@yorku.ca by July 1, 2012. One must be a 2012 member of MIRCI to present at this symposium.

Demeter Press
140 Holland St. West, PO 13022
Bradford, ON L3Z 2Y5 Tel: (905) 775-9089

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

30 April 2012

Book Release: Mother-Talk: Conversations With Mothers of Lesbian Daughters and FTM Transgender Children

Demeter Press is pleased to announce the release of:
Mother-Talk is a collection of stories of twenty-four mothers--twelve who found out a daughter was a lesbian and twelve who learned that a child, once a biological female, was planning to transition to male--capturing the complexity of coming to terms with the loss of a daughter who has changed sex or an anticipated relationship with a daughter, now a lesbian, who lives in a different world and will lead a different life. This groundbreaking book will help other mothers as well as lesbian daughters and FTM transgender children to understand their own mothers, their changed lives, and their determination to remain connected.
 
Sarah F. Pearlman was selected by the American Psychological Association Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues as the recipient of the 2011 Award for Distinguished Professional Contribution. Employed for many years as an Associate Professor in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Hartford, Sarah is now Associate Professor Emeritus. She lives in Boston and is active in LGBT elder organizations.

"Sarah Pearlman is one of the leading lesbian scholars and therapists in the world. She was one of the first psychologists to address issues facing lesbians, and has focused on such topics as gender identity, transgender transition, and feminist therapy for sexual minority women. Her book Mother-Talk, continues this ground-breaking work by describing the experiences of mothers whose daughters come out as lesbian or transgender. I found the interviews riveting. It's clear that the mothers were embarking on just as radical and challenging a journey as the daughters themselves. This book will be a classic for all mothers out there wanting to hear from others who are going through similar experiences." - Esther Rothblum, Ph.D., Professor of Women's Studies, San Diego State University 
Spring 2012 / $24.95 pb / ISBN 978-1-927335-05-5 / 6 x 9 / 234 pp.
  
Please visit our website at www.demeterpress.org for details on how to order this new title!

Demeter Press 
140 Holland St. West, P. O. Box 13022 Bradford, Ontario L3Z 2Y5
Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

16 April 2012

CFP: Mothering, Education, Maternal Pedagogies and Motherhood Studies


Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement
CALL FOR PAPERS
The editorial board is seeking submissions for Vol. 4.1 of the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (JMI) to be published in spring/summer 2013.
Mothering, Education, Maternal Pedagogies and Motherhood Studies

The journal will explore the topic of Mothering, Education, Maternal Pedagogies and Motherhood Studies from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. We welcome submissions from scholars, students, activists, government agencies and workers, artists, mothers, and others who work or research in this area. Cross- cultural, historical and comparative work is encouraged. We also welcome creative reflections such as poetry, short stories, and artwork on the subject.

Topics can include (but are not limited to):
Normative & disruptive discourses about motherhood and education; pedagogical othermothering & midwifery; mothering in the academy; teaching & learning from mothers at the margins (mothers of color, teen mothers, First Nation/aboriginal/Native American mothers, low-income mothers; adoptive mothers, queer and transgendered mothers...); maternal pedagogies; empowered mothering & teaching; mothering, education, & disability; education & infertility; men, mothering, & education; mothering & homeschooling; mothering, education, & activism; education & the public/private split; mothers' historical experiences of education; teaching one's actual or surrogate children; navigating cultural expressions of "good" and "bad" mother/ing; second/third shift responsibilities & education; transmitting maternal knowledges; motherhood & online teaching; problematizing the motherly teacher; literary/artistic/pop cultural representations of motherhood & education; teaching and/or learning parenting skills; educating public policy makers about mothering/motherhood; challenges to patriarchal and/or imperialist educational ideologies and practices; motherhood, education,& health; feminist motherlines & education; teaching/learning about mothering/motherhood through new media ; Is a distinct scholarly discipline of Motherhood Studies needed or necessary? What are the benefits and risks of creating a distinct discipline? How do we determine what is Motherhood Studies and what is not? Is such determined by the content and or perspective of the scholarship? Are there methodologies and or pedagogies distinct to Motherhood Studies; what are they? What topics have been well-researched? What areas require further study and research? What are the strengths of Canadian Motherhood Studies? What is the hertory of Motherhood Studies in Canada? Have some regions and universities been more prominent (and why)? What is the relationship of Motherhood Studies to Women's Studies, Childhood Studies, and Feminist Studies? Is Motherhood Studies feminist in its perspective and content? Does it have to be? How does Motherhood Studies relate to the burgeoning studies of fatherhood/parenthood? How do we study motherhood without falling prey to the scholarly limitations of 'identity politics' and essentialism? How do we best develop and disseminate Canadian motherhood studies?

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:
Articles should be 15-18 pages (3750 words) including references. All should be in MLA style, WordPerfect or Word and IBM compatible. Please see our style guide for complete details: http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/journalsubmission.html

SUBMISSIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY NOVEMBER 1, 2012! ** TO SUBMIT WORK ONE MUST BE A MEMBER OF MIRCI

Please direct your submissions to: Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) 140 Holland St. West, PO Box 13022 Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5 (905) 775-9089 http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org info@motherhoodinitiative.org

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

28 November 2011

Three New Titles from Demeter Press

Demeter Press is pleased to announce the releases of

Latina/Chicana Mothering
edited by Dorsía Smith Silva

Latina/Chicana Mothering provides a glimpse into the journey of mothering within the diverse spectrum of the histories, struggles, and stories of Latinas and Chicanas. Here, the Latina/Chicana mothering experience emphasizes the need for various conceptualizations of mothering, especially in regard to the conditions which shape the lives of Latinas and Chicanas, such as race, gender, sexuality, culture, language, social status, religion, kinship, location, and migration. The book has four sections: testimonios (narratives), links between motherhood and communities, mothering challenges, and literary and cultural images of Latina/Chicana mothers. As the essays in this book unfold, they reveal new images of motherhood and offer ways to transform Latina/Chicana mothering.

"Compelling narratives, testimonios, empirical research and literary representations on mothering make up Latina/Chicana Mothering. Dorsía Smith Silva has assembled a powerful collection of essays that get at the spirit of Latina/Chicana mothering. Diversity of thought and discipline is the beauty of this anthology as it extends the topic across studies in education, incarceration, violence, homelessness, popular culture, and feminine icons among others. This is essential reading in Chicana feminist work, women studies, ethnic studies, feminist theory, and motherhood."

-Ruth Trinidad Galván, Department of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, University of New Mexico, co-editor of the Handbook of Latinos and Education.
-Dorsía Smith Silva is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. She is the co-editor of Caribbean Without Borders: Caribbean Literature, Language and Culture and Critical Perspectives on Caribbean Literature and Culture.

October 2011

258 pages $34.95

ISBN 978-0-9866671-3-8



Maternal Pedagogies: In and Outside the Classroom

edited by
Deborah L. Byrd and Fiona J. Green.

This is the first anthology to theorize about ways in which cultural views of motherhood and personal experiences of mothering affect the processes of teaching and learning, this collection features fifteen articles by Canadian and U.S. women of varying backgrounds, interests, and fields of expertise. Some essays examine ways in which individuals and groups who do not occupy positions of unearned privilege and power use maternal pedagogies to resist oppressive ideologies and practices based on race, class, sexual identity, and ability, while others reflect on how belonging to one or more privileged groups affects the author's pedagogical views and experiences. Some contributors focus on the teaching and learning that occurs when parents are interacting with their children; others examine ways in which ideas about mothering and motherhood affect teacher-student dynamics that occur within educational institutions; still others discuss ways in which the teaching of one's children resembles and differs from the teaching of one's students. Other essays foreground ways in which contemporary public policies and institutions shape or are shaped by maternal pedagogies, whereas others examine the relationship between mothering and teaching from an historical perspective or in the context of activism and social justice work.

"The book brings up a plethora of important questions about the changing definitions of motherhood in different contexts, cultures and historical periods, and across different mediums of communica- tion and educational settings. The editors have created a provocative collection of essays on what is a relatively new and under-theorized topic for both women's studies and education."

-alice e. giNsberg, author of And Finally We Meet: Intersections and Intersectionality among Feminist Activists, Academics and Students

-Deborah Lea Byrd is Associate Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania. She is lead editor of Teaching the Isms: Feminist Pedagogy Across the Disciplines (2010) and has published articles on 19th- and 20th-century British writers, mentoring programs for teenaged and low-income single mothers, and building and sustaining partnerships with community organizations.

-Fiona Joy Green is a feminist mother, Chair of the Department of Women's and Gender Studies and a Co-Director of the Institute for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg. She is the author of Feminist Mothering in Theory and Practice, 1985-1995: A Study in Transformative Politics (2009), and Practicing Feminist Mothering (2011).

Fall 2011 978-0-9866671-6-9 $34.95 pb / 6 x 9 / 238 pp. education / motherhood studies / feminist studies / social change / justice and activism


Through the Maze of Motherhood: Empowered Mothers Speak
written by Erika Horwitz

This is a unique book that argues that mothers who are critical thinkers and who take a stance against social pressures to be perfect mothers experience a sense of empowerment. The book is based and expands on qualitative research that explored the experience of mothers who resist the current discourse on mothering. Through the Maze of Motherhood conveys what it is like to resist a strong societal discourse and how some mothers have managed to navigate the intricacies of the process of resistance. This book also dispels the belief that there is one right way to mother and, therefore, suggests that a process of questioning and resisting the current myths may result in a more autonomous, agency driven, and empowered way to mother. This book will not only encourage resistance that can lead to freedom from the oppression of the discourse, but that it will also persuade women to refrain from judging one another and develop a strong community with a strong voice against the ideal of the prefect mother. Through the Maze of Motherhood gives voice to mothers who are in a process of resistance to the discourse on mothering and it unpacks the many benefits, intricacies, challenges, and struggles they experience. Moreover, the book provides evidence for the notion that critical thinking and resistance are experienced as empowering even though they present some challenges.

"Through the Maze of Motherhood gives voice to women who bucked the norm of good motherhood ... and have no regrets. They mothered their way, and, in doing so, felt challenged but empowered. It is a must-read for independent-minded mothers and scholars."

-Shari Thurer, author of The Myths of Motherhood: How Culture Reinvents the Good Mother

"Erika Horwitz's book is a refreshing and important look at how resistance works, is experienced by mothers, and what supports mothers' resistance and challenges to dominant discourses of motherhood. By interviewing mothers rather than only theorizing resistance, Horwitz adds a much needed exploration in motherhood studies about the personal, contextual, and situational factors that support resistance to the dominant, white, and western model of motherhood. By doing so, Horwitz encourages readers and mothers to find strategies of resistance that can work for them, while also encouraging mothers to support one another in the struggle to resist the dominant discourse of motherhood."
-D. Lynn O'Brien Hallstein, Boston University

"Drawing on many examples from the life experiences of mothers and on her wealth of knowledge from 20 years of teaching parenting courses, Erika Horwitz offers rare and honest insight into how some mothers have made decisions to successfully deviate from the confining and limiting dominant set of rules and expectations of motherhood in ways that result in the mothers feeling empowered as they actively engage in alternative ways of parenting."

-Fiona Joy Green, author of Practicing Feminist Mothering and co-editor of Maternal Pedagogies: In and Outside the Classroom
Erika Horwitz is a registered psychologist. She is the Director of Counselling Services at Simon Fraser University and a Lecturer both at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia in their Faculties of Education and Counselling Psychology Programs. She has published several articles on the topic of motherhood, and has appeared on television and radio interviews as an expert and advocate for mothers. Dr. Horwitz lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her two daughters and her husband.

Fall 2011

250 pages $34.95

ISBN 978-0-9866671-4-5

16 November 2011

NEW CONFERENCE CFP: Mothering and Reproduction


CALL FOR PAPERS
Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)
MOTHERING AND REPRODUCTION

featuring an embedded conference on the topic of
MOTHERING, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY

October 18-20, 2012, Toronto, ON, Canada

We welcome submissions from scholars, students, artists, mothers and others who research in this area.
Cross-cultural and comparative work is encouraged. We are open to a variety of submissions including
academic papers from all disciplines and creative submissions including visual art, literature, and performance art.

This conference will examine the ethical, political, social/cultural, economic, historical, religious, spiritual, and psychological dimensions of reproduction and mothering. While the larger conference will be broad in its interpretation and engagement with the subject of 'Mothering and Reproduction', an embedded conference will be specific to exploring how mothers' decisions and experiences of reproduction and mothering have been/are influenced by science and technology. This Call For Papers is for both the larger conference, and the embedded one. Please feel free to submit to either, without necessarily specifying which you have in mind for your abstract/presentation.

Topics may include but are not restricted to:
Bioethics and fertility; abortion, birth control and assisted fertility in a cross cultural context; reproductive
technologies and the interplay of religion; mothering in families of high order multiple births; mothering on the
blogosphere; queer engagements with reproduction; motherhood and the technological womb; modern childbirth and maternity care; (mis)educative experiences teaching and learning about menstruation and reproduction; re/productive roles mothers play in de/constructing embodied understandings of reproduction; surviving tramautic birth experiences; mothers in academe/research; mothering and the workplace, how technology permeates the work/home barrier; attachment with adopted and biological children; birth plans; how science and technology inform social justice issues; assisted reproductive technologies, state policy, and federalism's impacts on women in the United States and around the world; reproductive decisions and a politics of location; impact of social media on opinions regarding reproduction; "mothering" from a distance; the experience of egg donation; mothers' changing relationship with "the experts" regarding birthing, infant care in the age of infectious diseases, baby books and birth control; reproductive rights and wrongs, including rise of contraceptive technology alongside state-coerced sterilization; mothering in the Information Age; maternalist political rhetoric in favor of labor rights; mothering bodies; pre and postnatal bodies and reconstructive surgery; eating disorders and reproduction; reproductive consciousness and politics of reproduction; outcomes associated with scientific/technological intervention; outsourcing of reproduction to developing nations; maternal and erotic/maternal eroticism; history of reproductive technologies; Indigenous mothers and mothering; cross-cultural perspectives on reproduction including reproductive technologies.

Keynote Speakers TBA
If you are interested in being considered as a presenter, please send a 250 word abstract and a 50-word
bio by March 15th, 2011 to info@motherhoodinitiative.org

** TO SUBMIT AN ABSTRACT FOR THIS CONFERENCE,
ONE MUST BE A MEMBER OF MIRCI

http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/membership.html
Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)
140 Holland St. West, PO Box 13022, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5 (905) 775-9089
http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org info@motherhoodinitiative.org

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

10 November 2011

CFP: Motherhood/Fatherhood and Popular Culture



Call For Papers: Motherhood/Fatherhood and Popular Culture

Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA)National Conference:
2012 Boston, Massachusetts, April 11- 14

Julie Tharp and Susan MacCallum-Whitcomb write in This Giving Birth: "Ever since a pregnant Demi Moore exploded the beauty myth by posing nude for a magazine cover and Madonna cast off her boy-toy image to sing the praises of maternity, popular culture has also begun to embrace dear old mom." At the same time, Modern Family, Mr. Mom, Thomas Beatie, the At-Home Dads Convention, and Superdad: a Memoir of Rebellion, Drugs and Fatherhood are just a few examples testifying to how popular culture has been embracing dad.

Liz Podnieks is looking for papers for multiple panels for the new PCA Area Motherhood/Fatherhood which showcases (from humanities and social sciences perspectives) any aspect of motherhood and or fatherhood in popular culture.

Possible topics to consider include, but are not limited to, the following:
-TV shows, including talk shows, family dramas, sitcoms, and animation
-print and electronic journalism and gossip rags; magazines
-celebrity culture
-electronic sites/technologies like blogs, Facebook, Twitter
-advertising and marketing
-visual art including photography, scrapbooking, mixed media
-film; performance; music
-graphic fiction/memoir
-best-selling literatures including mommy lit, momoirs, and dadlit
-pregnancy manuals and "expert" parenting guides/literature
-fashion
-politics
-reproductive technologies
-law and policy; maternal and paternal activism/organizations

For information on the PCA/ACA, please see: http://pcaaca.org/
Abstracts (200-250 words) will be accepted on a continuing basis up to December 15, 2011. Abstracts must be submitted online at: http://ncp.pcaaca.org/.

Please send any inquiries to the Area Chair:
Liz Podnieks, Associate Professor
Department of English and
Graduate Studies in Communication and Culture
Ryerson University, Toronto
lpodniek@ryerson.ca

24 August 2011

EVENT: Mother Outlaws' Speakers Series (Toronto, Canada)


FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

The Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)
announces our continuing 2011 events for the

Mother Outlaws' Speakers Series

The Mother Outlaws Speakers Series is a free monthly event open to the public presenting
topical issues on motherhood and feminism.

Tuesday September 20th, 2011
6:30pm- 9:00pm
Women's College Hospital , Boardroom E252
76 Grenville Street (Bay and College), Toronto
(scent-free environment please)



The 21st Century Motherhood Movement

This panel will address several motherhood organizations featured in the ground breaking 2011 anthology by Demeter Press that highlight maternal advocacy, activism, and social change

The keynote address will discuss the challenges and possibilities of maternalism, detail the strategies of 21st century maternal activism, and affirm a much-needed mother-centered theory and politics of feminism.


Maternal Activism as Matrocentric Feminism
Andrea O'Reilly
Associate Professor in the School of Women's Studies, York University and
Founder/Director of MIRCI

Mother Outlaws: Building Communities of Empowered Feminist Mothers in the Mother'hood
Linn Baran

Empowering Women to Become Mothers: Midwifery in Ontario, 1900-2010
Judith Mintz

Toronto Feminist Mothers
Tania Jivraj and Rebecca Lee

Single Mothers by Choice: No Time to Wait for a Perfect Partner
Veronika Novoselova

Changing the World One Mother at a Time: The International Mothers and Mothering Network
Melinda Vandenbeld Giles

For further information, please visit our website

07 May 2011

Mother's Day

Eight years.

I just read through eight years of blog posts about Mother's Day*. I stopped keeping a diary in college. Maybe that's why blogging has such an appeal to me. I write and know it's going to be read. Going through eight years of highs and lows of marking this day was tough. Some years I wrote a lot. Oddly last year I didn't write a damn thing on Mother's Day because I was so damn busy.

The past month has seen me give no less than three interviews about my feminism and how it came to be. Those who know me, know it means talking about my mother and maternal grandmother. Each interview helped me rediscover a bit about my past than I would have ever expected.

My maternal grandmother was heart broken that I didn't heed her advice to go to college and THEN find a boyfriend. Instead I found a boyfriend and then we both went off to college together. I think it turned out pretty well. We have a daughter and will celebrate 12 years of marriage on Mother's Day. But during interview #1, I was literally dumbstruck by the fact that while I disappointed my grandmother and she didn't live to see my husband & I get married, not to mention missing out on the kid, she would be freaking ecstatic over how egalitarian my marriage is and how hands-on Senor Feminista is as a father. Yeah, I think she'd be happy with the outcome.

I've told this story to just about everyone who has ever asked me about how I knew I was pro-choice: My mom raised me that way. As I told Chloe, the earliest memory I have of my mom instilling in me a sense of ownership over my body was when I was about 12 and she told me we didn't go to church because the Pope wouldn't let her take birth control pills. During interview #2 it dawned on me how much my mom knew me. She didn't have to explain birth control pills at that moment. We never had "the talk," but she was open with her pro-choice views. I know, odd. Then there were the times when she would comment about abortion and making it clear that she was pro-choice, but never explaining what abortion was. She just knew I knew. I think I was a senior in high school, maybe freshmen in college, she took me to view a documentary on midwives at her friend's house (who was my midwife) and it dealt with pregnancy, birthing, abortion...the whole enchilada. She sat back and watched me explain why I supported abortion rights to one of my dad's sister's during a camping trip. I remember my aunt was reading a USA Today about abortion and I responded with my thoughts. She taught me about reproductive justice without a heavy hand. She wasn't perfect. We had thrown downs about welfare and what constituted luxuries in the USA.

I've also recounted to a few interviewers over the years that I have the perfect response to anti's who ask me, "What if your mom was pro-choice?" She was and she chose me. I know this because I asked her when I was in high school, why at 18 she would have a baby in a country where it was legal to terminate a pregnancy. "I wanted you. It's that simple."

And that sums up why I am so vehemently pro-choice. Why every child must be a wanted child. I wish that every person could ask their mom why and hear that answer. "I wanted you." Because that is the conversation I will cherish, that I will remember the most. I was wanted.**

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

* 2004-2007 are from my old blog. I might repost them here in the future. 

** If my mom lied to me about this, this was the best lie she ever told me as she didn't hesitate or flinch. 

05 May 2011

Legislative Update

Earlier this month, I asked my Illinois readers to contact their state representatives and ask them to support a bill to unshackle women who were in active labor. A partial victory today because the bill passed!

Sadly the bill passed in an amended state, which limits the unshackling to just Cook County.

I'm hoping to get an interview with Gail Smith, executive director of Chicago Legal Aid for Incarcerated Women, to discuss what this victory means, what percentage of women this will cover and what's next.

CLAIM blogged a bit about the politics that went into getting the bill as far as it has come. Next up the Senate!

Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
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