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Mother Journeys
edited by Maureen T. Reddy, Martha Roth, Amy Sheldon
Spinsters Ink, 1994

Mother Journeys: Feminists Write About Mothering is a compelling collection of essays, stories, poems, and artwork, investigating with clarity, humor, courage, and sometimes pain the dual issues of feminism and motherhood.

“... we asked feminist mothers to tell us what the experience of mothering means to them: how it affects their lives and their work, how it relates to their politics, what it is like to mother.”

“Here feminist mothers write about abortion, infertility, miscarriages, the death of children. They also write about the sensual joys of mothering, the intellectual joy of discovering another person’s growth, and ultimately the joy of claiming identities as women with choices.”



In risky, deeply-felt poems, stories, and memoirs, women reflect on the meaning of mothering in contemporary North America. As they interweave personal and political challenges, daughterly and motherly feelings, their children’s voices and presence with their own, these writers offer us a glimpse of what mothering might become when illumined by feminist consciousness. A wonderful book!
-Sara Ruddick, author, Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace

Mother Journeys is a powerful antidote for those who suffer from the misconception that feminism and mothering are incompatible. It is also affirmation of those feminist mothers who defy social convention by their daily existence.

-Patricia Bell-Scott, author/editor, Life Notes: Personal Writing by Contemporary Black Women and Double Stitch: Black Women Write about Mothers and Daughters

Reading this rich and evocative collection feels like engaging in multiple, impassioned and courageous conversations with feminist mothers. So many questions are opened up, so many emotions aroused, so much I recognize and so much I disagree with, so much I want to respond to. Mothers and feminists need this book as together we continue to build a mother-inclusive feminism and recognize the need for a committed feminist motherhood.
-Marianne Hirsch, author, The Mother/Daughter Plot: Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Feminism



Excerpt from Mother Journeys:

From "Beneath the Skin," p. 49

In the fifties, "hard" was good: hard liquor, hard reasoning, hard penises. My disdain for "girls" went along with dislike for softness, for the pale, pretty Marie Laurencin prints in my parents’ bedroom. My husband and I were going to do and be hard, brilliant things. We decided we could fit one hard, brilliant child into our lives.

What we had, of course, was a soft wild baby, and I loved her with single-minded passion. I loved being pregnant and nursing, and I got pregnant again before our first daughter was a year old. For the next ten years I stayed at home, growing, nursing, and rearing three children.

Then I came along with many other women to a feminist awakening. Talking about being a woman with other women, for the first time in my life, changed the way I lived in my body. I realized at last that there was no me without it; the body that made love and got pregnant and bore children was the same body that smoked and swore and drank and marched and resolved and wrote.

The amazing thing about parenthood isn’t that adults make children, but that children make adults. My children had to go through my maturing process with me, and no doubt there was wasted pain in it along with light and warmth and solid growth. But I can’t have it any other way...

Books by Martha Roth
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