I want desperately to be able to say to you, “He’s my greatest teacher, and it’s so humbling, and I’ve learned so much,” and I expect to get to the end of my life or his and be able to say that, but right now I can’t. What I can say right now is that he has forced me to better learn patience and have a much more nuanced understanding of progress because he’s someone that can only be compared to himself. He’s not unenjoyable. He’s full of laughter. He’s a very goofy, silly kid in a good way, and he’s smart. Once I accepted the fact that he’s mentally ill, he did become a lot easier to love.
These are Susan’s words, about her nine-year-old bipolar son, and the experience of mothering him. They’re recorded in an extraordinary collection of motherhood interviews.
Liisa Ogburn has recorded the stories of hundreds of women with a vast range of experiences of life and motherhood. She writes:
More than 80% of women in the United States today become mothers at some point in their lives. While we are more well-versed in how our bodies physically change than previous generations, we are less so in some of the more subtle, but profound ways we change. For many, the experience of motherhood is our first hard encounter with our limits, our vulnerabilities, and our lack of control.
Theater critic Kenneth Burke once said, “Stories are the equipment for living.”
I’ve found that to be true. I am especially drawn to stories told when we are at points of extreme vulnerability, potential and change.
The stories are searchable by keyword (immigrant, biracial, infertility, multiples, determination, artist…). Take a look.