March of this year, I gave birth to my second child, my daughter.
Around that time, I made friends with this hilarious, vibrant, crazy group of mothers who weren’t shy about their frustrations with motherhood. After you have a child, there are more issues outside of dirty diapers and midnight feedings: People judge your every decision. Friends stop asking to spend time with you. Whoever you were beforehand ceases to matter, and you become “Mom,” as in “mom jeans” and “mom haircut”: An asexual, faceless entity whose sole purpose to everyone else is to wipe snot and talk about poop.
And for some people, this is fine. For us, it wasn’t. The more I spoke to others, the more I realized it wasn’t okay for quite a few of us.
So April of 2016, I got mad. And when I get mad, I create.
So What IS the NYAM Project?
It’s an ongoing photographic project done in “waves.” Each wave consists of nine mothers who were kind enough to tell me all about themselves -- not just who they are now, as parents, but who they were beforehand. They then trusted me to come up with one “before” shot and one “after” shot based on their stories.
Every other Saturday beginning January 21st, 2017, I’ll be sharing one mother’s story, told as completely as I possibly can.
Because parents are complete people with histories and interests, and I think this gets lost from time to time. The general public loses sight of it, and we --parents, that is--lose sight of it.
We’ve fallen into this general belief that a “good” parent is one who says “I have a child now. My wants, my needs, who I am doesn’t matter. All that matters is them,” and if there’s anything I’ve come to learn over the course of this project, it’s that this is dangerous. We can’t forget who we are, and we can’t fall to the pressure of being expected to forever put that on hold either.
Yeah, OK. But what about dads/single dads/gradmothers/cousins twice removed? What about them?
I’m a mother, and --as I’m trying to point out with this project -- I’m only human. I don’t feel equipped to accurately depict an experience I can’t at least pull some emotion and understanding from, and I’m not going to insult anyone by trying. I will say that if you feel that there is something to be said about fatherhood or grandparenthood or what have you, SAY IT. Start something about it. I’ll gladly spread the word about it for you.
So then...this is only for mothers.
This is for anyone who finds an interest in people’s stories. If you’re the type to want to look closer at people who you’ve never thought to get to know, if you’re interested in understanding a bit better, then this project will be of interest to you.
Okay. Fair. And may i say your sweatpants are particularly stain free this morning?
You may say that. And thank you.
I'm excited to share this project with you. Over and out.