The Maternal Tug: Ambivalence, Identity, and Agency
Sarah Lachnce Adams, Tanya Cassidy, Susan Hogan
While the existence of maternal ambivalence has been evident for centuries, it has only recently been recognized as central to the lived experience of mothering. This accessible, yet intellectually rigorous, interdisciplinary collection demonstrates its presence and meaning in relation to numerous topics such as pregnancy, birth, Caesarean sections, sleep, self-estrangement, helicopter parenting, poverty, environmental degradation, depression, anxiety, queer mothering, disability, neglect, filicide and war rape. Its authors deny the assumption that mothers who experience ambivalence are bad, evil, unnatural, or insane. Moreover, historical records and cross-cultural narratives indicate that maternal ambivalence appears in a wide range of circumstances; but that it becomes unmanageable in circumstances of inequity, deprivation and violence. From this premise, the authors in this collection raise imperative ethical, social, and political questions, suggesting possibilities for vital cultural transformations. These candid explorations demand we rethink our basic assumptions about how mothering is experienced in everyday life.