Monday, January 23, 2012

Exploring loss in the context of mothering

Currently I am in the process of editing an anthology on motherhood and loss titled, “Joy, Interrupted.”. After I lost my own infant daughter to SIDS in 2003,  not only did I struggle with how to express my own experiences through the process of writing, I also sought comfort and understanding through learning from other experiences of loss in the context of motherhood.  However, I didn't have much success discovering books about this aspect of mothering.  There is so much out there about the positive aspects of mothering, and little out there about the risks involved in the process—whether physical or emotional.
The concept of loss in the context of the mothering experience, in my opinion, hasn't been explored enough in our culture. Normally, the mothering experience is described as one of gain, in which a woman gains happiness or sense of completion through child-rearing, without addressing how, with every act of mothering,  there is always the risk of loss.  The emotional range of mothering doesn't just involve joy—it involves interruptions, some of which can result in pain, longing, or even ambivalence.  Addressing these interruptions doesn't the potential of joy allowed in the mothering process;  understanding the risks undertaken in the varied experiences of mothering allows us to fully appreciate the magnitude of motherhood.
So, I decided to seek out the writing and artwork on my own and collect it in an anthology. I had previously published a memoir and novel through the small press my husband and I had created Fat Daddy's Farm and decided editing and publishing an anthology on this subject would be a worthy project for us to undertake.
At this point, I have collected over sixty works from authors and artists from three continents.  These works include poetry, art, essays and narratives about various aspects of loss in the context of motherhood. These explorations include experiences of loss through death, the loss of self in the process of mothering, and the loss of one's own mother through adoption.  Each work challenges and expands our notion of the mothering experience.
The goal is to have this anthology published in October 2012.  If you would like to find out more, our website feel free to email me at, or you can be kept update on the progress of the anthology by subscribing to our newsletter.
Melissa Miles McCarter (
Twitter: @fatdaddysfarm

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