Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

When Literary Mama was celebrating its tenth anniversary and I was an editorial assistant here, I wrote this post about how I came to the journal. The story I told then is not the same story that I would tell …

From the moment a woman thinks about motherhood, she must make choices for, and about, her child. She chooses to try to conceive or continue an unexpected pregnancy. She decides to leave her job to care for her baby or enroll him in daycare. Each day, there are new and agonizing choices that a mother must make, although she rarely knows what the results will be.

So much bloom and naked dawn, stalk of yellow hair and slender arc of back, / your small figure a leaf, rain soaked and splendid, surrounded by bellflowers // and toadflax, thistle and jewelweed, touch-me-not yellow. You raise your hands, / turn on a heel, and shake into blossom.

I thumb my choices–hibiscus sachets, / envelopes of rooibos, earl grey tins– / as the ceramic pot and baby steam and screech. / Tea will find our morning / in this month of nights.


These passing moments of grace, probably long forgotten by those who offered them, were like lamps illuminating a darkened footpath during my son's short life.


My children are teaching me that more than two genders actually exist.

Thomas was standing in the living room in his Spider Man pajamas, which he'd clearly outgrown; the bottoms stopped an inch above his ankles.


My husband and I locked eyes. We were frightened by the bleak circumstance we faced: life or death is rather simple.

There's a natural evolution within people. In the course of my life, I was a wife and a mother. A librarian. A room mom. A lover. An argument.


She's fresh and new, like a warm thing pulled from the dirt. You're exhausted, craving coffee.

Just like Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë's writing was testimony to their position as sitting-room observer, so my research and my creative writing is imbricated with the many spaces of motherhood.


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So much bloom and naked dawn, stalk of yellow hair and slender arc of back, / your small figure a leaf...


Soft the curve of her neck like soft-blown glass, / the whoosh of a mare's tail / whipping air into shape...


I buckle his stroller, we escape house arrest. / Fresh air, hot tea, cures all things.


My son is three. / Full of speed and plans— / He loves to run. / And sometimes it's into the road.


Even as cubs, my granddaughters / guard me, though they know no grief / or brokenness, no empty house jangling...

Silencing women and their stories is so much a part of many cultures and I aim to change that.


Life is long, but our children's childhood is short, so do whatever it takes to be present for them and still write.

Joan believed she could divide her life as mother and author into neat, separate boxes.


The collection focuses on a particular group of friends and key moments in the lives of each.