A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother
by Rachel Cusk
"Mothers are the countries we come from: sometimes when I hold my daughter I try to apprehend this belonging for her, to feel myself as solid and ... Show synopsis "Mothers are the countries we come from: sometimes when I hold my daughter I try to apprehend this belonging for her, to feel myself as solid and fixed, to capture my smell and shape and atmosphere. I try to flesh out her native landscape. I try to imagine what it would be like to have me as a mother". The experience of motherhood is an experience in contradiction. It is commonplace and it is impossible to imagine. It is prosaic and it is mysterious. It is at once banal, bizarre, compelling, tedious, comic and catastrophic. To become a mother is to become the chief actor in a drama of human existence to which no one turns up. It is the process by which an ordinary life is transformed unseen into a story of strange and powerful passions, of love and servitude, of confinement and compassion. In this work, novelist Rachel Cusk attempts to tell something of this story, an old story set in a new era of sexual equality. When we no longer know what it is to be a woman, what is it to be a mother? When our expectations are so complex, what can we make of the simple lowliness of caring for a small child? Cusk's story of a year of modern motherhood becomes many stories: a farewell to freedom, sleep and time; a lesson in humility and hard work; a journey to the roots of love; a meditation on madness and mortality; and most of all a sentimental education in babies, books, toddler groups, bad advice, crying, breastfeeding and never being alone.