A friend visits with a basket in each hand, her twin sons. She feeds them, changes them, carries them, and lays them down with perfunctory attention. She says, Sometimes I think, “It’s been seven months! Where in the world is their mother?”
—Sarah Manguso, 300 Arguments (Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2017)
I love this quote. It speaks eloquently to the strange slow shift in identity that comes with mothering, with fathering—the sense that this new life is not your own, but belongs to someone else. It’s distressing, disorienting. And that sense can lead to enormous self-doubt and self-criticism
And so I’m relieved to know that at last this disorientation is finally being taken seriously—that is to say, that it is being investigated by people who are not sleep-deprived, confused about who they are becoming, too interrupted to make sense of the experience and to hold onto the sense that they make of it. This piece on matrescence--the process of becoming a mother--by Alexandra Sacks, prior to the publication of her book this fall, is part of that exploration.