motherwork.org grew out of a need for me to connect to my own experience of motherhood and examine how and why I was not necessarily embracing the possibilities for my creative practice within the new limitations of parenthood. I felt there were connections to be made with an external community that I had yet to find and that that might help me with the process of reconnecting with my self.
My identity, like I’m sure so many other mothers experience, shifted dramatically with my first pregnancy that ended in a late term miscarriage and then the birth of my son. Whether you intend to get pregnant or not, carry to term or not, or are at the beginning trying to conceive, your self and your body are already changed and will never be the same. You are actualizing new cells and selves and shedding old selves all at once. Becoming a mother is so disruptive and real. I wasn’t sure when to stop and assess what I was experiencing.
I’m doing that now with motherwork.org. My son is 3 years old and after years in a career telling stories for a living I find myself stuck, challenged to find my own expression for my experience.Life circumstances have forced me to look beyond my own ideas for support and advice. You don’t always find what you need when and where you need it.
I’m making new connections and finding new resources. I’m doing the work of raising a son and becoming and being myself. Here I will share what I learn and find.
October 15th is observed annually around the world as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The day is observed with candle-lighting vigils including the Lights of Love International Wave of Light, a worldwide lighting of candles that encompasses and spans the globe at 7:00 pm (local time). There is also a Hearts Release event that takes place on October 20th for families anywhere in the world to contribute their beloved babies’ names to be handwritten onto tiny, recyclable paper hearts that will later grow into flowers.
I, like many women have suffered miscarriage and wanted to take this opportunity to share some resources and thoughts:
If you are currently suffering a loss please reach out for support. If you feel like you aren't getting all the answers from your healthcare provider, find a doula or birth support who is trained in caring for women going through pregnancy loss. While miscarriage is a common and natural occurrence, not everyone knows what to expect from the process and what their choices may be.
StillBirthDay.com has many resources for all stages of loss including advice on how loved ones can support and express sympathy for those experiencing loss: https://stillbirthday.com/familyfriends/
The photo in this post is one my own from a series called "Little One". Even though the artichoke flower is dry and done blooming, the little one remains part of the plant. Today I am remembering my little one who passed and holding a place in my heart for all those going through pregnancy and infant loss.
I am excited to share that Mary Trunk's film, Lost In Living, which follows four women who are artists and mothers will be screening in Brooklyn, NY starting this Friday. You can see the trailer and more information about the film here: https://maandpafilms.com/media/
The screenings take place at the Spectacle Theate and more info can be found here: www.spectacletheater.com/lost-in-living/
The film was produced over 7 years and in and of itself is the work of an artist/mother. It is a fascinating view into the lives of new mothers and grandmothers, each finding and re-finding her own path and navigating the enormous changes of life with children. If you are unable to see the film in New York, I recommend picking up a DVD here, or viewing the film on a streaming service like Kanopy (if available from your local library). Seek out this film and share it with others!
I came across this opinion piece, 38 Days That Made Us Dads in the NY Times and it made me think about my own process of becoming a mother. This story struck a chord with me as I recalled when I watched my own son live the first couple of weeks of his life in the NICU, after being born five weeks prematurely. He is a healthy and happy two year old now, but the delay to bringing him home still sticks with me at times.
As the author, Corvette Hunt says, "the roles of parenthood don't fall into neat categories." Nothing about birth or finding your way through parenting is neat and tidy. Fathers, mothers, step-parents, adoptive parents, even aunts and uncles finding their way. There's so much to say about this work and process - and that's what we'll explore here on MOTHERWORK
We don't know what becoming a parent will be like. Or how it will change us once it happens. Planned or unplanned. Biological or adoptive. Single, widowed, or partnered. No one is ever prepared and it takes everything you've got. For now, I'll say a huge thank you and wish love to fathers everywhere doing the work.
An Artist Residency in Motherhood was initiated by Lenka Clayton in 2012. It provides "a self-directed, open-source artist residency to empower and inspire artists who are also mothers".
MOTHERWORK announces a ten-month Artist in Residency in Motherhood, and for the launch of the MOTHERWORK site in January 2019.
Sign up for my newsletter for updates on the MOTHERWORK Lab Residency progress and to learn more about the Launch!