A maternal haunting – By Anna Johnson

I began writing, for no clear purpose but from a need of some sort. And also, I think, from some notion that I could perhaps ‘make something’ of the unexpected, powerful strangeness of this experience of motherhood in which I am suddenly immersed – that something could be formed by placing these experiences a little way outside of myself (or attempting to at least). The writing kept returning, as if of its own will (though of course not – just at the behest of parts of me I am less than fully conscious of), to an idea of haunting, or multiple senses in which I experience my altered life and self as haunted. Hallucinations and ‘visions’ of imaginary objects, during and after his birth, perhaps draw unsurprising parallels with ideas of haunting, but the more mundane events of depressive episodes, repetitive activity and the altered consciousness of endless caring also Read more...

Meet the Mother House: a creative space for mothers artists

13312776_1603401659951498_3762428790709229095_nMother House is a pilot initiative from Procreate Project in partnership with Desperate Artwives. It is a dedicated creative space for London-based artists who are mothers with a co-produced and flexible childcare model.
An experimental month into the intersection between the roles of mother and artist, observing the importance of their impact on private lives and within society: the Mother House will provide a familiar context to share and reveal both the challenges and privileges of being a mother. The space will provide the freedom to work independently or alongside your children, and it will provide opportunities to work in collaboration with other artists to create a supportive and inspiring network. The Mother House idea is born in response to the urge of “making” within the life-changing experience of motherhood, offering a collaborative yet intimate space to curate your practice while ensuring your journey into motherhood is fed in a Read more...

On the Equality and Childbirth – by Ozan Kamiloglu

I just had a child. What a weird use this is of the verb “have”. There hasn’t been any physical connection between me and the child until now. My partner changed with the child, carried her, fed her, changed her life style, daily routine, diet, and she has passed through a difficult labour. I didn’t do any of these things. When they gave me the baby in the operating theater, I thought “whose baby is this one now?”. Her experience of having a baby and mine are shockingly different. Apart from the commitment to undertake certain responsibilities in relation to the child, there is nothing that makes the “child” mine. When I was in the ward with my partner, observing her experience during labour demonstrated this to me in a very striking way. And even more curious, is how we continue as if the labour, and pain, and commitment, and Read more...

Affordable Mothering and Respectability- by Agata Lisiak

The low total fertility rate in Poland (1.3) has repeatedly been juxtaposed, in Polish and British media alike (often in an alarmed tone), with the apparently much higher (2.13) total fertility rate of Polish women living in Britain (ONS 2014). As analysts from Polityka Insight have cautioned, these numbers tend to be taken out of context: if we consider the overrepresentation of young women (20-39) among Polish migrants, Polish women in the UK give birth to only 15% children more children than their counterparts in the same age group in Poland. And yet, it remains a fact that the birth rate in Poland sank considerably from 2.0 in 1990 (GUS 2014), and the new government is set on reversing this trend.

The campaign program of Poland’s conservative party Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość), who won last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, included a proposal to introduce Read more...

10.000 Refugee Children Missing: Historical Coincidences and Historical Symptoms- by Marita Vyrgioti

In the Greek language, the word coincidence shares the same root with the word symptom; which creates a paradox. This sharing implies that when a coincidence (σύμπτωση) is repeated, it then becomes a symptom (σύμπτωμα).

On the 30th of January, Brian Donald, Europol’s chief of staff told the Observer that: “one of the most worrying aspects of the migrant crisis […] is that thousands of vulnerable minors had vanished after registering with state authorities’. It’s not unreasonable to say that we’re looking at 10,000-plus children. Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don’t know where they are, what they’re doing or whom they are with”.

There is an oxymoron about the above statement. One of the leading members, of one of the greatest European organizations for investigating and prosecuting criminal networks, publicly and shamelessly announces that during his Read more...

Centralization of Obstetric Units: (Austerity) Challenges to Maternity Care- by Marita Vyrgioti

Last week, the President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr David Richmond made quite a controversial proposal, one that would create a “public and political furore”, in his own words[1]. The British National Health System (NHS) has been dealing with a serious shortage of middle-grade obstetricians and therefore has suffered a general drop in the quality of maternity services offered, due to exhausting shifts and antisocial-hours of work, and to doctors’ burnout. In his recent interview in Guardian, Dr Richmond suggested a merger of the current 147 obstetric units into 118; a reduction of 20%. He supported his view saying that the concentration of obstetric experts in central units can result in high-quality maternity care and 24/7 consultancy, which would be impossible otherwise. The centralization of obstetric units will be combined with the boosting of midwife-led units, suitable for women who have a low-risk pregnancy. Read more...

Writing Maternal Ambivalence (and How we Love to Hate it..)- by Rosalind Howell

I’m not the only one, who since having children, has had an urge to write about the experience. There are many blogs, as well as memoirs and whole parenting magazines often written by mothers, for mothers. Amongst this body of writing there can be very distinct tones; One is the confessional style memoir which tries to capture the difficult thoughts and feelings that assail the author in early motherhood, such as Rachel Cusk’s 2001 book, A Life’s Work. Another is the how to article which shares with the reader a particular parenting secret or skill that the author has recently become convinced of and wishes for us to join her in. I received one of these recently from the Huffington Post, `The blog` initially assured me, its aim was to ‘soothe my frazzled parent brain’, the title of the article then screaming warningly at me, “The single most Read more...