There’s part of the place where we stopped that Valeria really likes because it’s downhill. The game is simple: with half-closed eyes and outstretched arms, the goal is to hurry to the void with the irrational security of a person who has recently learned to walk.
“What are you doing with ours children? “Elena asks me and it’s such a beautiful question that I can not answer right away for not lying.
I let him go and pick up Valeria, who confidently waits for her at the bottom of the descent, e.g. I think of my pregnant friends and friends with a baby in their arms. In June, it will be my sister-in-law, my brother. We were all single, back then as a couple and now it seems that we are increasing in number, we are multiplying. Or at least they do.
Elena pulls Valeria to the table, placing her on her lap. How am I doing with her? She is cute, with the curls and the funny faces of those who make a living from trying. I’ve known her since she was not there and it touches me, it seems to me like magic that has arisen at some pointafter many years of dinners and confidants with this woman, who is my age, and who is now someone’s mother, and who for the next ten years will never enter a room without noticing all the edges of the tables and the uncovered sockets.
I think of my friends who we traveled with, drank, smoked, cried. All mothers or in progress. I decide to lie, but then I do not, even though I am afraid to offend her.
“I do not know,” I say. “I think I love them because they are an extension of you.”
Elena smiles. He is not offended.
We are all born of women: there is no subject that worries us anymore. Yet we talk about it as a women’s business to be run according to rules imposed by men a long time ago.
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Motherhood is a duty, the complete realization of a body with a womb; it is a joy, always and in any case. Also sacrifices, but to be embraced with a sense of fullness and gratitude for the gift that so many would like to receive.
The pain of childbirth is forgottenand breastfeeding and the man’s stitches, the latter added to repair what has been torn apart so that it soon works again.
Motherhood is a lens, a pair of binoculars but also a microscope: if you are not a mother you can not understand. The world is taking another step, which lies between peace and constant threat; the time is filled until there is nothing left outside of what is shared with the child. There is only one mother, one or none or even one hundred thousand fathers. All without the right to paternity leave, because the mother is already there and therefore there is no need for it.
But what if that is not the case? What if a mother did not feel like a mother immediately after giving birth? What if her story differs from this almighty figure of a woman who takes care of everything who is ready to welcome even outside those who have stayed safe in her womb for nine months?
In the graphic novel The substitute written by Sophie Adriansen and illustrated by Mathou (Yellowbeak) the birth of little Zoe corresponds to the beginning of a mandatory maternity leave and there would be a need for a replacement to take Marketa’s place and do all the things expected of a “Wondermamma”. It is strange and beautiful to read about a motherhood that only begins when the main character regains a relationship with himself and his body.. But first, the author had to face the dark part of a story that is not being told, and reveal a vulnerability that we sometimes read in the eyes of a friend of ours a few days after birth when the body’s ailments are still fresh, sleep lost there, he gets tired and his voice shakes a little when he says it was not as bad as he thought. Thats it more ugly. I am reading The substitute and only then did I think of the automatic answers we give, our clumsy and cruel attempts to change subject. “Yes, but it was okay in the end, right? This little girl is beautiful”.
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I’m sure there is not a single story of motherhood. I’m pretty sure the most told story has one political valuewho serve with their clichés they stereotypes which has consolidated itself over the centuries, a to lock women inside a role of caring and caring for the other (of the child and in full of the family) that he played so deeply that he fell in love with it that he made it a source of pride in the absence of other roles, of other possibilities.
I’m just as sure of that a mysterious and unspoken truth in every woman’s motherhood, something resembling clichés, something completely detached from them. If it is true that fetal cells enter the mother’s body through the blood and vice versa, every pregnancy seems to me to be a story in itselfany motherhood could express any form that this relationship decides for the two beings involved, based on their context made of air, food, people, their history, which consists of a past lived alone, a common present, a future that is just a promise.
Not a but as many motherhoods as there are mothers on earth, so. This makes it harder to tell his own story, especially when it’s as awful as the one he illustrated Sara Garagnani in his graphic novel Mother (Add). We are all born of a woman, and with this woman we sometimes act for life or for several lives because even those who conceived us have a story that begins with a birth, with an exchange of genes, blood and education received through generations. As in a game we have not chosen, we are at the end of the line and over time, we are able to see at a distance the stretch of road that our parents walked, the way they did it, the violence that hit them; we recognize the signs of that violence in ourselves, their way of moving in the world as ours. Closing this book at the end of the reading means feeling full of something new and old together, longing to still have a mother to laugh with or keep quiet about. and it looks at you as if your existence comforted it from some past.
IN Letter to an unborn child Oriana Fallaci he wrote that “if one dies, it means that he is born, that he came out of nothing, and nothing is worse than nothing”. At the end of the book, the fetus remains in nothingness. Four years later, in A man, the author tells about her abortion. Even writing someone makes him come out of nowhere, without the pain of birth.
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I am reading Shakes at nightthe book of a good writer who just got a little girl and I’m wondering how she will write from now onhow this little gear will fit between his thoughts and the ability or willingness to put them on paper. I am envious of this opportunity to experience this thing. I hope you explore it if you feel like it and find other gears for myself that push me in directions I do not yet imagine.
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As for being a mom, of course, I can not understand.
While I look at my partner holding the newborn Arianna in her arms under the happy gaze of her newborn parents I tell myself that there is something extremely practical and carnal in keeping it in balance, even just without letting it fall, and that it is very very difficult for me to struggle to keep so many aspects of my life in balance, can find a way to hold a child in my arms. For this, I say to myself, I read. To understand.
IN Nigra line (The new border) Jasmina Barrera accompanies his pregnancy in words from other mothers, from Mary Shelley who, pregnant, writes the story of a monster who asks why it was created, one Sylvia Plath and to his verse about birth: “There is no more cruel miracle than this.”
It is a compelling diary, written with a clear desire to keep two parts of the same person together: the mother and the researcher to deliver an essay. But then life breaks out: little Silvestre, an earthquake, an illness. The thread that all the women in the book keep from Natalia Ginzburg to Shirley Jackson to Luz Jimenez unite them without ever getting too close. One’s word is equated with the other’s word in a mosaic that I am aware is necessary. No longer a single story of motherhood, but many, all. “I want a surplus of these books,” the author writes. “I want a canon, a tradition. And also books against the cannon. New literary genres “.
How am I doing with these kids? The daughters with my friends sweet curls and eyes and the others to be born? Their existence did not disturb my life. They have not changed my relationship with the world: I do not want anything bad to happen to them and that they are always full, warm, healthy and happy, but I hope for nothing different for all the other boys and girls on the planet.
However, something has changed at the same time and makes me believe that I will really love them and I want to lose a heartbeat every time I see them topple down a slope. It’s something that does not depend on me or them, but on a story that began much earlier and did not include any births, but which consists of long conversations, travels, evenings of laughter or quarrels, sleepless nights, funerals. Love multiplies things and sometimes people: we were a group of friends and over time we have become more.
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In the meantime May returned with her feast stubbornly dedicated to her mother despite the missing mothers from year to year. It has been for a few years a hateful month for me, unbearable. In May, however, I think of my sister-in-law and nephew who is about to be born and who becomes part of her family and ours in ways we cannot foresee and which may not be visible for many years; I say to myself that one day (it will be my turn, my brother or my father) we will see each other again in the small to the shape of the face, the eyes, an exact grimace that comes directly from our past, and which leaps treacherously out to be comforted and to comfort us for its absence.
Even if it does not, it will be, I think. There is something powerful about this multiplication.
At one point in the book, Jasmina Barrera wants to write, but decides not to because moving could wake the baby in her arms. Surprisingly, I like that he does not, and I decide to do something every day with my empty arms, including offering them, when necessary, to these babies already born, to Carmen’s son and my nephew who will be born, always for a short time and with fear of letting them fall. .