``Life is nothing but a series of crosses for us mothers." --Colette


I am always aware of my mother,
ominous, threatening,
a pain in the depths of my consciousness.
My mother is like a shell,
so easily broken.
Yet the fact that I was born
bearing my mother's shadow
cannot be changed.
She is like a cherished, bitter dream
my nerves cannot forget
even after I awake.
She prevents all freedom of movement.
If I move she quickly breaks,
and the splinters stab me.
--Nagase Kiyoko, Mother

I see my father lurching down the street and want to get away. Then I see my mother's severed head growing out of the side of his neck. Her head is only a bloody protrusion of my father. My mother is not a person in her own right.
--Maria's dream in Linda Leonard, Meeting the Madwoman

``And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus." Then said Mary unto the angel, ``How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" And the angel answered and said unto her, ``The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over shadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
--St. Luke I, The Bible

...The woman conceives. As a mother she is another person than the woman without child. She carries the fruit of the night for nine months in her body. Something grows. Something grows into her life that never again departs from it. She is a mother. She is and remains a mother even though her child dies...
--An Ethiopian Woman in Essays on a Science of Mythology

Mother Dreams

One of the women who had been assisting in the transportation of the baggage halted at a little run about a mile behind us, and sent on the two pack horses which she had been conducting by one of her female friends. I inquired of Cameahwait the cause of her detention, and was informed by him in an unconcerned manner that she had halted to bring forth a child and would soon overtake us; in about an hour the woman arrived with her newborn babe and passed us on her way to camp apparently as well as she ever was.
--Meriwether Lewis, The Journals of Lewis & Clark

A group of mothers was discussing the ten most significant contributions to the quality of their lives one night. Most of the suggestions were quite predictable: penicillin, fire, electricity, the automobile, not to mention The Pill, polyester, and ten-foot phone cords. I don't care what women say, the number one choice for me is the pacifier. How many women would be with us today were it not for that little rubber-plastic nipple that you jammed in a baby's face to keep him from crying?
--Erma Bombeck, Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession


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