Martin turned out the light. Solly lay on her back with the huge dome of her belly golden in the light from the street lamp. The thought of the night that was just beginning horrified her. Now the baby was about to arrive, it couldn´t stop existing even in sleep. She spent night on the verge of unconsciousness, a place full of movement, noise and yellow light.
Rachel Cusk, Arlington Park
The maternity I want to see in this artwork is internal, visceral, instinctive, hormonal and perhaps even voluntary, the idea of the upbringing of future generations as the most important task. A maternity that is revealed as a place of struggle that redefines gender relationships and women´s social position, something that leads us to an internal fight with the wish for self-realization. And impedes us concentrating on developing ourselves as independent beings.
“Someone once asked me: Don´t you ever write poems about your children?… For me, poetry was the place I lived without being a mother to anyone, where I existed as myself.”
Adrienne Rich, Rage and tenderness
Maternity and upbringing seen as an obstacle in the path of autonomy.
If self-realization can be reached through creative work, whose objective is not merely remuneration, it is even more difficult, being as it is the consequence of an interiorized desire and not fitting in with the social standard of necessary work.
According to the historical conception of patriarchal society, the ideal mother has no personal interests, she has to fuse them with her children´s.
What is socially expected of her is to yield to the temptation to annul one´s ego, not to not fulfill the impulse of maternal love. From the traditional Freudian psychoanalysis point of view, the main characteristic of maternity is tenderness, which translates into passivity as the will to sacrifice. Maternity wipes out all aggression and sexuality in woman.
Maternity and creation, Moyra Davey
…She went back to the kitchen and sat on a chair, seized by shame. In her belly the baby wriggled around with some force. Solly held her belly with both hands. Nobody will ever be able to imagine the feeling of a human body struggling inside your own. It was incomprehensible. If you thougt about it, you would go mad. If you thought about it, you would convince yourself that you were alone in the world, that even the baby wanted you to disappear.
Rachel Cusk, Arlington Park
Life become a series of expectations, a constant set back in artistic creation … when I finish cleaning, when they are better, when they start school next year … and day to day interruptions are constant, … I´m on my way, just a moment…
At the age of twenty-six Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom´s Cabin) laughing at her attempts to finish her manuscripts. “Come here Harriet” I said watching her holding one baby and looking at two others learning to walk, “Where is that article for Souvenir I promised the director you would write? You´ve only got today to finish it and you´ll have to give it to me now”. “You tell me, dear friend, how it can be done … At the very least it will have to wait until I finish cleaning the house and the baby´s stopped teething.
Tilie Olsen, Mother writers: The basic situation
A woman who fulfills her desire to be a mother and her wish for self-realization, finds herself caught up in her interior dichotomy that drags her thought a battle against herself, a battle she has to lead alone.