I first heard of Maddie McMahon on the podcast 'Sprogcast' as a frequent commenter. I remember her talking about her project 'Maddie's Miracle Bus' - an idea for a bus to drive to areas with no access to breastfeeding support. This dream is now en route to becoming official. Anyway, I also heard Maddie being interviewed about 'Why Mothering Matters', her fabulous new book, part of the 'Why it Matters' series by Pinter and Martin. Just the interview made me emotional so I knew this was going to be a winner for me.
Add to all that the fact that Maddie reviewed my book, Milk, in the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers' magazine. Her review was everything I hoped people would say about my book and more.
Maddie McMahon comes to this book as a doula and doula educator. She spends a lot of time with mothers, supporting and nurturing them - 'mothering the mother.' This puts her in an excellent reflective place to talk about why being in a mothering role does indeed matter.
Why Mothering Matters reminds me a little of Naomi Stadlen's work. It is peppered with quotes from mothers and examines the experience of motherhood, but then goes on to discuss the political side (and you know how I love a bit of social politics!). Mothers can be overlooked, underappreciated, misunderstood. Being a mother can mean feeling invisible and irrelevent. Parenting decisions are fraught and political in and of themselves. It is a time of transition, to a position that often is undervalued by decision makers and society itself.
Getting off my soapbox, this book is beautifull written. Non-fiction is often quite academically written. I don't mind that, in fact I enjoy that style, but this book had a beautiful literary flair that made it all the more compelling. The imagery was stunning; it was almost poetic.
This series of books are all quick reads - they are snapshots, well referenced. into an area of pregnancy or early parenthood. Each one allows you to dip your toes in and see if you like it. But don't get me wrong, they are dense, they manage to get far more into the knot of these problems than you'd expect in such a small book. 'Why Mothering Matters' is no exception.
Here is a great quote - the kind that got me fired up for 'the cause'
If intersectional feminism is what it says on the tin, it's time to include mothers too - every flavour and colour by the way, not just white mothers but black and Asian mothers, gay mothers, bi mothers, gender-queer and trans mothers and fathers. Because feminism isn't about escaping biology, it's about individuals having equal access to health and social care and being truly free to make choices: whether that's having kids or now, pushing babies out of your vagina or not, breastfeeding or chestfeeding or not, going out to work or staying at home with small people. And it means society welcoming, celebrating and rewarding all these choices as equal contributions to society.
Suffice to say, I loved this book. Go read it 🙂