'The end result is that it represents the randomness which is what life is all about.' - Author Kerry Clare
With Mother's Day coming up, many people stop for a moment to consider what being a mother means - to their own mothers, or friends or even themselves.
That's what Toronto author Kerry Clare did when she had a child. She is in Winnipeg to launch her new book entitled The M-Word: Conversations about Motherhood.
Her goal was to dispel the notion that motherhood is picture perfect.
"I had a baby five years ago and found myself catapulted in a whole new universe," she explained. "It was all I thought about. But my preoccupation was alienating to others."
"I saw that motherhood was more complicated than I first guessed. I had a friend who struggled with having a child and I realized her story was so important."
Stories range from women's experience with abortion, to making the decision not to have children, to wanting desperately to conceive against all odds.
Clare says in the end, she was fascinated with how it all came together.
"First, I tried to group the essays thematically," she recalled. "The whole point was that we weren't ranking these stories. I was trying to represent women’s lives as they are."
"Eventually I decided to put them in alphabetical order. The end result is that it represents the randomness which is what life is all about."
Two of the writers in the collection are Winnipeggers. We asked them to describe their own essay:
Thoughts from Confessions of a Dilly-Dallying Shilly-Shallier by Kerry Ryan:
Maybe we should. Should we? Could we? Would we? No. But what if we do? Then again, what if we don't?
Such is the life of the maternally ambivalent. Decision-making has never been my greatest skill, and when the question was whether or not to have a child, I was even more indecisive than usual. Surely the fact that I couldn't make such an important decision indicated I wasn't meant to be a mother. Or did it? I envied women who were certain in their choices (whether pro-motherhood or not) and wished I had a decision to call my own.
Thoughts from Primipara by Ariel Gordon:
What scared me about writing my essay - above and beyond the usual fears that the writing wouldn't be good enough, that I wouldn't be able to achieve that elusive combination of thinking/feeling/vulnerable/witty - was that I would be called out for being a selfish parent.
My essay is about the choice to have a single child, or how I opted to nurture my writing and my writing life instead of a producing a second child. And so I was worried that I would be judged, suddenly, for making the same choice that I've made my entire adult life: how will X affect my writing? ("Won't your child be so lonely?" "Only children are weird.")
Kerry Clare launches The M-Word: Conversations about Motherhood on Tuesday May 6 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Books. She will be joined by local writers and contributors to the book, Ariel Gordon and Kerry Ryan. Before the launch, hear Kerry Clare on Up to Speed with guest host Sarah Penton at 4:20 p.m..