They say motherhood changes you. “They” say a lot of things, but they seem to have this one right.
It isn’t like it was totally unexpected. I had read Deborah Copaken Kogan’s memoir of going from hard boiled photojournalist on the frontlines of news to a woman all but completely immersed in the “mommy wars.” And I’d read Alice Flaherty’s The Midnight Disease, which includes a candid discussion of her post-partum hypergraphia. I felt like I knew the risks.
(Do you ever really know the risks?)
My risks turned out to hit very close to my heart.* For one–this is perhaps the least life changing–it altered my perspective on the books I read. Children’s books had been my chosen career for years before I had a child, but once I became a mother, the stories had a new life. I was not only in the young protagonist’s perspective, but I also keenly felt the mom’s point of view even if it wasn’t strongly present in the story. Teen novels, in particular, often delve into mother-daughter relationships in ways that can be hard for me to read.
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown didn’t even get into mother-daughter drama, and I still struggled with it. For those not familiar with the book, it is the story of a teen girl in an abusive relationship. As I read, I kept thinking how unrealistic it was. She’s a smart girl with strong friendships. It wouldn’t happen to her. Or, at least, it wouldn’t happen that quickly. Eventually, I had to admit to myself that it wasn’t that the book was unrealistic. I didn’t want it to be real.
Books were the least of the changes though. I wrote about some of the other changes in a zine (pictured right with another zine) called Will There Be Smoking? and other questions. I’ll be selling this zine and others tonight at the second installment of a summer music series called Genrebeast, which brings together a diverse lineup of musicians.
If my writing isn’t enough to entice your attendance tonight, there will also be The Idle Hands, 2012, Dewi Sant, and FDR.
If you can’t catch the show tonight, I will be participating the the Twin Cities Zine Fest in September. Be sure to mark your calendar.
*I am not remotely implying that motherhood isn’t worth it. It is. The zine actually focuses on what was a difficult but very positive change.