All posts filed under: Columns

Adiba Nelson | Mama’s Writing

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. What’s your favorite thing about being a mother? This is actually a really tough question. I feel like it shouldn’t be difficult to answer, and I’m slightly embarrassed that it is….so…I’m going to give you the most honest and real answer I can give you, and I really hope your readers understand. I don’t really love being a mother, per se. I’m not really cut out for the so-called (i.e. made-up) “mom things.”  BUT…I absolutely LOVE being Emory’s mother. She truly is just an absolute joy and is funny as all get out. So I would have to say my favorite thing about being Em’s mother is just getting to be goofy together when no one is watching, and then watching her stare at me in horror when I’m goofy in public, or in front of her friends. Or when she works overtime to prank me – we live for a good prank in our house. What’s your least favorite thing about being a …

Nikesha Elise Williams | Mama’s Writing

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. What’s the best motherhood advice you’ve ever gotten? The best motherhood advice I’ve gotten is from my own mom who said, “You need to reduce your stress because your baby feels everything that you feel.” She said this to me after I had my son and while I was pregnant with my daughter. While I can’t always reduce my stress, I try to remain cognizant of how I’m feeling so that when I’m interacting with [my kids] and responding to them or their behavior, it is not from a place of my own stress, which may lead me to snap. I don’t always succeed, but I try.   How has motherhood shaped your priorities? I’ve had to reinvent my life. Before having children I wanted this big New York, news [producer] life. My husband hates the North so it was still very far-fetched, but after having my son, I realized that I didn’t want to go back to work in news at all, let alone …

Pregnant woman standing outside against a sunset.

Three Poems

Immaculate Conception The day my mother confessed  She had conceived me though IUI, Guilt swallowed her eyes.  Her voice grew quiet And shame took over her body. She had betrayed God  For a baby. Wanted something  So natural,  Motherhood, And obtained it artificially.  Throughout my life,  She repeatedly told me I was special.  I never quite understood why  Until that day.    Feliz día de las madres I think about the first interactions  Between my mother and I. She’s the first person  And place  I called home. The vibrations traveling  From her mouth to her belly— Yo sentí el español antes  De oírlo, hablarlo, leerlo, ni escribirlo. She would tell me  You ate whatever I ate In an attempt to argue I should like the foods she eats. I can’t deny I adore chiles rellenos But I also can’t digest garlic or onions. I inherited taste and malaise.  I look down to my belly button, It once was connected to my mother. And her belly button was once connected to her mother,  And my grandma’s …

Namrata Poddar | Mama’s Writing

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. Who are your writer-mama heroes?  My mom, first—she was a single mother and academic who worked 2-3 jobs at any time and raised 2 children while being very present with our lives. Then, feminist writer peers who I’ve gotten to know in a closer way as they create art, pursue activism and/or teach in competitive positions, and raise one or more children. Shoutout here to my mentors during my time at UCLA and Bennington College—Françoise Lionnet, Shu-mei Shih, Angie Cruz and Jill McCorkle. I learned so much by simply watching them live their lives on a daily basis. Shoutout to writer-friends Aline Ohanesian and Shilpa Agrawal who kept it real for me when I got pregnant and tried to figure how to raise a child in harmony with my own personality. Shoutout to peers with whom I’ve talked about motherhood, in bigger or smaller ways, and felt seen and heard: Jasminne Mendez, Chaya Bhuvaneswar, Anjali Enjeti, Lydia Keisling, Shenaz Patel, and fierce single mothers, …

A Black man holds his head in his hand. He is leaning against the foot of a bed. A person rests their hand on his shoulder.

I Had to Dial 9-1-1 on My Son During His Mental Health Crisis

“Hello, 9-1-1. What is your emergency?”  The operator’s business-like monotone was exactly what I needed so I could focus.  “I need an ambulance,” I gasped into my cell phone. “My son has symptoms of manic depression. He’s not violent, but I need to get him emergency psychiatric care.”  After I gave the operator the address, I ran the rest of the way to my mother’s house. Khari, who was usually friendly and cracking jokes, was seated at my mother’s dining room table, frowning and rocking rapidly in his chair with his hands tightly gripping the sides. He was talking nonstop about my father who had died from multiple myeloma eleven years earlier.  “Nothing has been the same since we lost Pop-Pop. Nothing. Nothing. Not for me, not for Nana, none of us. Nothing!” he said. My mother, sister, and I gathered around him.  “It’s going to be OK,” I said and tried to hug him.  “Don’t touch me,” he yelled.   We backed away slowly and watched him silently, unsure of what else to say as we waited …