Who's Your Mama?
We at Mommy Track’d are all too familiar with the avalanche of books dealing with the conflicts between “working” and stay at home mothers. Though it’s still too soon to chant R.I.P. to the Mommy Wars, we continue to try. It’s not as if the work/home dilemma is the only thing on our minds. The contributors to a new anthology called Who’s Your Mama? remind us of this by opening a wider lens on women’s lives.
Determined to offer perspectives from women not customarily represented in the conventional dialogue on motherhood, editor Yvonne Bynoe, has gathered a cluster of narratives by a group of racially and economically diverse women. Here you’ll meet Jasmine Dawson, widowed while still in her twenties, pondering whether to use her husband’s stored sperm to attempt another pregnancy and finally have the child she and her husband had longed for. And Amy Kalisher, who bravely admits that she doesn’t love her adored new husband’s son. Kelly Jeske and her partner Meg struggle to become mothers, first via in vitro and then through open, inter-racial adoption. Sunali Banajee, pregnant and determinedly unmarried, comes to terms with her very traditional Hindu parents who would rather have her marry and divorce than shame them by having a child alone. One woman adopts a multi-racial child and is then deserted by her husband; another surrenders her child and then fights successfully to win him back from inadequate foster parents; still another cheerfully acknowledges that having children is simply not right for her, while still another writes poignantly of her decision to abort a severely compromised fetus. One of my favorites is the piece by Lori L. Tharps, an African American woman married to a Spaniard. One of their two sons is dark like his mother, while the other is light-skinned like his father. Her essay is a meditation not just on skin color and identity, but on her children’s safety and self worth in a society not yet color blind.
Not every writer in the collection is a dazzling stylist, but each in her way reminds us of the ways our experiences as women are shaped by social and economic issues of race, sexuality, class as well as by the accidents of personal experience