by Edited by Yvonne Bynoe - £11.99 Soft Skull Press (2009)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781593762391 | ISBN 10: 1593762399
Not just your average book on motherhood, Who's Your Mama? treads new territory, taking on the unvarnished personal narratives of working class women, women of color, single mothers and gay mothers as they explore the complexities of both motherhood and womanhood.
Unlike other “motherhood” books that focus on the experiences of affluent, married white women, Who's Your Mama? centers on the perspectives of women from all cross-sections of society who are actively engaged in crafting identities and family structures (including remaining single and/or childless) that speak practically to their personal beliefs, intimate relationships, and socioeconomic realities.
While most books about motherhood focus on the conflict between mothers who work and those who stay at home, Who's Your Mama? focuses on the voices, perspectives, and complexities that are most often left out of this dialogue. From the adoption process for a gay couple, a feminist juggling the roles of activist and mother to a mother's celebration of her own vibrant sexuality, the book explores the intersection between motherhood and the facets of the authors' lives, which include race, class, sexuality, politics and personal tragedy. This collection of personal narratives will illuminate the female experience of parenting under patriarchy without exclusively defining it, and humanize a variety of social and economic issues that affect millions of American women and their families.
In Living in the Third Sphere, Marla Tevolia breaks down the traditional image of the stay-at-home mom, describing how she came to be empowered in her role as a mother after giving up her career and finally issuing a clarion call to all mothers to take on the challenge of becoming active, strong and indispensable leaders in their communities, shaping their lives and the lives of their children for the better.
In Starter Child Amy Kalisher tackles the considerably less publicized but equally nerve-wracking task of becoming a stepmother to a precocious 11 year old, weaving through her initial insecurities and attempting to reconcile her affection for her new love with the strangeness she feels around her new child. With fresh emotional honesty, Kalisher reveals the challenges of learning to love a child that isn’t your own and understanding that motherhood comes in many different forms.
Kelly Jeske chronicles the long, and often heart-breaking journey of open adoption that she chose to undertake with her gay partner, describing the highs and lows as the couple venture into the unchartered waters of adoption, buoyed by a fervent desire for a child. In A Shade Called Mama, Jeske unveils the process of open adoption, the decisions leading up to it and swirling around it, offering readers a fresh look into the nature of gay adoption.
Namaste Revisited sees Sonali S. Balajee wrestling with a web of problems both cultural and personal. In lyrical prose, Balajee sifts through her emotions as she plans to go through with an unplanned pregnancy despite the wishes of her conservative and traditional South Asian parents, who are distraught over the shame of their daughter’s situation. Torn between her own wishes and her sense of duty to her parents, Balajee ultimately finds peace by allowing herself to be guided by a mix of personal spiritual beliefs and feminist leanings.
Liz Prato defends her decision to remain childless in Is Life Without Children Worth Living?, finding empowerment and fulfillment in her child-free existence, filled as it is with love, music, art and writing. She presents a lifestyle that is so often questioned by her peers, who often find it disconcerting that neither Prato nor her husband harbor any desire to procreate, holding her ground against naysayers and shedding light on a child-free life that is equally as enriching as that of a being a parent.
(Price & availability last checked: October 2018)