What does it mean to be a mother in 2024?

What does it mean to be a mother in 2024?
What does it mean to be a mother in 2024?

We may only be half of humanity, but we created it all. These first words on the back cover of “Being a Mother”, a collection of stories which has just been published, are the credo of Julia Kerninon, author of the best seller Liv Maria who invites six other writers to bring motherhood into literature with her, in order to to give it the place it also deserves in reality. Meeting of two of these voices, Adeline Dieudonné and Victoire de Changy. By Nicky Depasse.

What does “being a mother” mean today?

Adeline Dieudonné : Huge question. I would answer factually that it is having children. It is also being both sacred and guilty.

Motherhood is an upheaval in our lives as women. How is it perceived in our society today?

Adeline Dieudonné : There are a lot of injunctions: basically, if we work, we are criticized for not taking care of our children but when we take care of them, we are criticized for not working. I perceive it as extremely guilt-inducing…

Changy victory : …even though it’s supposed to be extremely natural. There is also an injunction to joy: it is supposed to be mainly happy even though it is an enormous learning experience, an infinite task.

Adeline, in your story, you talk about “naked creatures”. Once you have a child, you fear a lot of things: illness, accidents, kidnapping, and nowadays, you fear suicide.

Adeline Dieudonné : We are very alone with our fears even though they are legitimate. Suicide is the leading cause of death among 18-25 year olds: it is therefore not an absurd or irrational fear. The risk for my daughters of being victims of rape, of being mistreated one day by the man they love exists but it is not easy to talk about it because people do not like it when we talk about negative things. So, we sweep them away. But I say
that if we brush them aside, it is because we feel them all and therefore, we fear, we avoid delving into the subject.

Why does this fear, this distress of being a mother remain a taboo subject?

Changy victory : It is not so as long as we stay in the physical domain: the pain of childbirth, breastfeeding or returning from childbirth. These are things that we discuss very easily with relatives and friends but not with men because they don’t feel concerned, they think it’s dirty and they don’t need to know. Motherhood is, like women’s bodies, both sacred and devalued, which is why we still have difficulty talking about it.

Your story, Victoire, rather evokes the question of knowing when we become “normal” again.

Changy victory : In fact, we never become one again. When will I go back to dressing like I used to? etc, it’s a series of questions that continues to excite me as a mother. I had already published a collection of texts that I wrote when I was pregnant with my first child, The Palm Greater Than You, and which recounts the nine months of motherhood.

Do young women today, between the ages of 20 and 30, still have the same desire to mother?

Changy victory : I think we are asking the question of the desire for motherhood more frankly today than before. So we, who are still young, didn’t really question it.

I believe that there are young women who are asking themselves the question of motherhood because they feel that the distribution of tasks will not be fair. The issue of eco anxiety is also a new but very real phenomenon.

Adeline Dieudonné : As well as obstacles to motherhood such as the question of sharing parental responsibilities. I believe that there are young women who are asking themselves the question of motherhood because they feel that the distribution of tasks will not be fair. The issue of eco anxiety is also a new but very real phenomenon. Finally, that women have the power to prefer to devote their motherhood time to a professional career or a passion for art, or sport, is gratifying.

Changy victory: It’s gratifying that this young generation is asking themselves the question and making their choices consciously.

Adeline, you were a mother at a very young age. If we had to redo it ?

Adeline Dieudonné : If I had to do it again, I would do everything the same because my daughters are here and they are absolutely wonderful. I wouldn’t change a comma in my life to get to today. As an author, I see how far behind I have fallen: while I was having a child, learning to tie a baby sling, others were doing extensive literature studies, writing, publishing, accumulating experience. So I fell behind…

Changy victory : It’s still an injunction.

Adeline Dieudonné : It’s true. And fortunately, I see that on the other hand, my daughters are grown up while I am only 41 years old. Today, I am free while many women my age are extremely busy with very small children. So I’m happy to have had my children young.

Is sexuality, when you are a mother, a question?

Changy victory : Julia Kerninon mentions it in her text but it has never been a subject of concern for Adeline and me.

Adeline Dieudonné : Aside from broad generalities like couple life which suffers from the arrival of a child because he does not sleep when we want him to sleep, it is upsetting, it tires, which complicates the question of sexuality in the couple. But I could put this down to the distribution of tasks: if it were better distributed, perhaps sexuality would be better off.

Changy victory : It is once again an injunction to continue to have a dense and fulfilled sexuality when we put so much energy into taking care of our children when they are very young.

Among your concerns, what are the themes that you want to highlight?

Adeline Dieudonné : A profound questioning of our society: destroying the system of patriarchy and capitalism.

Changy victory : Like parental leave, this is where it all begins. Involve both parents in the same way, resolve basic inequalities.

How did you react when you were asked to participate in this collection project?

Changy victory : Last arrival, I only had six weeks but I had already written on the subject of motherhood, which saved me.

Adeline Dieudonné : It was particularly complicated because I had never written in the first person, never mentioned the intimate, I always have the screen of fiction between the reader and me, which makes my life a lot easier. In addition, a classmate of my daughter had committed suicide, which added an additional layer of fear to my condition as a mother that was not easy to manage. I was afraid of writing extremely negative things on the subject. So I was very reluctant and ultimately took more than a year to submit my text.

In conclusion, a simple question: how are you today, as mothers?

Changy victory : I’m tired, personally, but I’m fine. I see my children becoming little people and I find it exhilarating.

Adeline Dieudonné : I’m fine too. I have a great relationship with my daughters, and above all, I am starting to see the end of the tunnel because they are grown up now. I feel like I’m reaping with my daughters what I’ve been sowing for years. It’s both pleasant and unexpected because when you’re a parent, you do what you have to do and you don’t expect anything in return. And this feedback that I have from them now, I take it as a gift, a bonus.

  • BEING A MOTHER, Adeline Dieudonné, Victoire de Changy, Julia Kerninon, Clémentine Beauvais, Camille Anseaume and Louise Browaeys, 200P, Ed. THE ICONOCLAST.

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