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Pickle Me This

September 6, 2009

Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the MommyBlog by May Friedman and Shana L. Calixte (eds.)

First, a note to everyone who now lands here after google searches regarding “maternal ambivalence”, particularly those who google “ambivalence about the baby’s birth”– fear not. I am the one who cried on the operating table before my c-section because I’d decided maybe I didn’t want a baby afterall, but it really did work out okay in the end, and it will work out for you too. Ambivalence, I like to think, just means you’re just considering all sides, and really, you’d be stupid not to.

Anyway, those readers land here because of my post from last spring “On mommy blogs, maternal ambivalence and my worst tendencies”, a post in which nothing was resolved and I talked around in confusing circles. Since then, I’ve come not closer to conclusions, I’m still troubled about both “mommyblogs” and my feelings toward them, and even having become a mommy myself hasn’t changed my perspective so much at all.

Perhaps resolution is not the point, however. Mommyblogs contain multitudes, and so to think just one thing about them is sort of limiting, which I’m quite sure about now, having read the excellent collection Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the MommyBlog, edited by May Friedman and Shana L. Calixte. A collection of academic essays containing multitudes itself, and reflecting the wide range of responses that mommyblogs prompt. A microcosm, perhaps, of “the mamasphere”, with dissenting voices, personal stories and experiences shared, academic discourse in an accessible way, these various points of view in a heteroglossic rabble.

I come away from this collection entirely comfortable with my lack of conclusions, understanding really that it is thinking about these issues that is the point. I’m still not convinced that most mommyblogging is a radical act, but just considering why or why not is important, and that there are many issues at stake here. Stand-out essays including, Jennifer Gilbert’s “I Kid You Not: How the Internet Talked Me Out of Traditional Mommyhood”, Lisa Ferris’ “Kindred Keyboard Connections: How Blogging Helped a Deafblind Mother Find a Living, Breathing Community”, Jen Lawrence’s “Blog For Rent: How Marketing is Changing Our Mothering Conversations”, and “Schadenfreude for Mittelschmerz? Or, Why I Read Infertility Blogs” by May Friedman.

I’d never considered mommyblogging marginalization, or the politics of the mamasphere, the implications of corporate marketing, or– for a form so built on self-identification– what it would be read from the perspective of a lesbian mommy in a multiracial family, for example. This is some can of worms.

I see now that whatever my feelings about mommyblogs, to dismiss their importance would be wrong, and that so many bloggers tend to write for themselves and each other, so it doesn’t matter much what I think anyway.

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