Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
From the Editor, October 2016

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Image by Juli Cady Ryan. See More of Juli's work at

Artist Juli Cady Ryan delights in the whimsical and writes this about "Gift at Sunset": "Though I never used the stork story for childbirth with my children, I always thought it was such a fun, whimsical story that deserved to be painted. . . . when we see this image, we know exactly what it means."

Juli's work makes me smile, but I realize the desire for motherhood isn't always this light-hearted. For some, it's filled with sadness and loss. For some, there's quiet acknowledgement and acceptance. For others, there is no desire.

If you're familiar with our submission guidelines, you know that we pride ourselves on featuring top-notch writing about the complexities and many faces of motherhood. You may not realize, however, that our editors keep their eyes open, year-round, for writers, books, and creative writing that speak specifically to desire—both the desire to have and the desire not to have children.

From our submission guidelines:

This issue explores issues of primary and secondary infertility; the effects on the human soul of reproductive technologies; concerns about having more children or not having any at all; the relationship of caregivers to the mothering role and their desires for mothering; and more.

I hope you'll find yourself in the pages of this issue and in the archives of our past Octobers. 

Welcome to this year's selections of Desiring Motherhood.


P.S. Stay connected between monthly issues by subscribing to our blog or by following us on social media. See you there!


Beyond Broken: The Well to the Light by Darcie Whalen Korten
Heartsong: The Problem with Unicorns by Kate Ristau

Creative Nonfiction
Unexpected by Polly Duff Kertis
How to Have a Hysterectomy by Kimi Cunningham Grant
The Four Seasons of Longing by Lois Ruskai Melina

So Much Water by Julia MacDonnell

Literary Reflections
Essential Reading: Desiring Motherhood compiled by Abigail Lalonde
Family Lore, Baby Lore by Hannah Baker Saltmarsh
Of Art, Desire, Independence, and Spirit by Dawn Haines

How to be Fertile by Elizabeth Garcia
Piñata Uterus by Talya Jankovits
On First Looking at an Ultrasound by Zola Gonzalez-Macarambon
Gazing Across Venous Lake by Julie Paul
Nascence by Missy Rose
How to Be a Mother Again by Kim Drew Wright

A Conversation with Julie Lawson Timmer by Gina Consolino-Barsotti
A Conversation with Robin Black by Lisa Lynn Lewis

A Review of Louder Than Everything You Love by Alyse Bensel

Images by Gioia Albano, Lois Ruskai Melina, Juli Cady Ryan, Heather Vrattos, and Shelly Wason

Karna Converse is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

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Juli Cady Ryan is a self-taught artist and who has been selling her art worldwide for 12 years. What started a as a hobby, soon became a vehicle for her to share her experiences with her family’s mental illness. Her art has now been in galleries, from the Smart Gallery in Springfield Missouri, to the Fuller Lodge Art Center Solo Exhibition in their Portal Gallery. She has also written a bedtime story for children, “The Sleep Fairy and the Magic Sheep,” a fun story to help the little ones fall asleep. Recently she has self-published a book of paintings, Wounds of Wisdom, that along with her poetry and Juli’s own words, show the pain and hope of dealing with mental illness in her family.

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