Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
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This past year has been one in which the birth of a second child and deadlines for this column -- boundless blessings, both -- upped the pressure on my husband's and my relationship. We saw the best and the sleep-deprived worst in each other; we also, in facing our worst, found unexpected hope. We know that more pressures await. Yet fantasies aside, as the girls and I explored Wisner, the answer to whether we would return to life in expat Thailand, and to the man who spoke Japanese with us on Skype at night, was yes.
Four Worlds by Avery Fischer Udagawa

The story: person sees bear, and perhaps (we may never know), gets too close, moves too quickly, or is simply surprised. Bear sees person, and perhaps (we may never know), responds to the person's flight with a predator's instinct or is more aggressive than the usual bear. Whatever happened, both are dead. It's the first fatal bear mauling in the park's 195-year history.
Subarctic Mama by Nicole Stellon O'Donnell

In last month's column, Cassie Premo Steele asked readers to submit short stories about mothers and children in the setting of a school. Perfect for this time of the year, this story by Aileen DePeter captures the anxiety that many mothers feel as their children get "dropped off."
Birthing the Mother Writer by Cassie Premo Steele

I picked my moments carefully and delivered bits of treatment trivia with a deliberate air of nonchalance. "This is good medicine," I told them regarding the twelve weeks of chemotherapy facing us. We had finished dinner and were all sitting around the kitchen table, a setting I hoped would evoke a cozy ambiance. "It's fighter medicine. It works very hard to make me better, but while it's working I'll be weak and sick. I'll need lots of sleep and some special foods to make me strong again." They took this in, nodding, looking only slightly puzzled. "I might throw up a lot, but then I'll take some special pills to make my tummy feel better."
Senior Mama by B.L. Pike

Creative Nonfiction
I've come ready to write: a palm-size notebook stuffed in my pocket, another in my backpack, more in dry bags wedged inside the kayak's fiberglass body.
In the Wild Without Child by Aleria Jensen

"Wow," John whispered. "She's sporting cleavage to the pediatrician's office!" My friend's get-up was a little strange, I thought. Then I remembered how adorable this doctor was.
Dr Dude by Rebecca Martin

I seen them come into the store. The mother, all buttoned-up and beige. The older girl, dark-haired and fussy. Braces. Squeaky-voiced. And then, the littler one, in light-up shoes and a cartoon t-shirt, her looking lost already, tagging along behind the other two. Following the florescent light tubes' glare on the vinyl tile floor. I seen the three of them, and I thought, that girl's in la-la land.
Kmart by Susan Woodring

1. My First Magic Hat Slick cards stick to honey stains,
her hair escapes from the felt's black brim.

Tap a penny, make it spin,
wave the wand and blond
waves of hair spiral away.

I am not good at this. ...
Untitled by Patricia Anne Simpson

Still frying chicken
fell off the wagon
made rainbows in the yard
greening the thirsty grass
a small relief from
the afternoon sun...
Sunday Dinner by Cassandra Dallett

In forlorn January, I sit with other
mothers of The Unusual
in semi-darkness, an alternative film class for kids.
Drowsy, sick of motherhood's fringe status, I'm
saved by animation--
Animation Moms by Karen Braucher

Lia says, "I want to swim to the pier,"
and I look out past the buoys
to the white structure in the dark water.
"It's kind of far. It's over your head," I answer,
and Lia noses forward. "Help me, Mom!" ...
The Ladder by Allison Shores

By late afternoon they are children again,
watching the Disney Channel, wondering
what will be served for dinner. That moment
under the priest's thumb long forgotten...
Ash Wednesday by Melissa Dickson

You love the noodles.
Slurp and grunt above them,
your face a wild moon
above a tide of rice and soy. ...
Rice Noodles by Lisa Kerr

The diversity of legal opinion on surrogacy reflects perhaps a wider range of public opinion. Traditional surrogacy, according to several sources, dates back thousands of years. In the past few decades, however, IVF has made gestational surrogacy possible, and the business of commercial surrogacy -- known by critics as rent-a-womb -- has exploded in developing countries. In this new scope of possibilities, women considering surrogacy may find themselves on the defense. How, or should, they justify their choices to friends, family, employers, faith groups -- or indeed, in their own mind? Three new memoirs offer three different surrogacy stories, yet each tackles this essential question head on.
What's Mine is Yours by Katherine Barrett

The Literary Mama Blog Editor searches for mama-centric news you can use — including information about publishing opportunities and literacy efforts; essays and writing prompts that motivate and inspire; and announcements about events, classes, and workshops. The current blog editor is Rudri Patel; read her bio here.

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