Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Duke professor, Raleigh mom seeks stories of motherhood for book project

Posted December 12, 2012
Updated December 13, 2012

Liisa Ogburn, a Raleigh mom of three and adjunct professor at Duke University, is collecting stories about motherhood for a book project called Motherhood: How it Changes Us. She'd love some more.

The project, inspired, in part, by the work of the great oral historian Studs Terkel, aims to tell the story of moms from all walks of life. Here's how Ogburn describes the project on her website:

"With a small grant from the N.C. Art Foundation, I set out to interview a wide range of mothers across several states about what drives us to become mothers; how we expect our lives to change and then how they really change; how our ideas about work, religion, volunteerism and priorities change; and how our relationships with family, friends and partners change," she writes.

Ogburn's own experience as a mom, who was hospitalized with postpartum depression after the birth of her oldest child, motivated her to seek out moms who we don't hear about all the time. (She recently wrote about her experience with postpartum depression on The New York Times' parenting blog).

She's interviewed women from North Carolina, Maine Pennsylvania, South Dakota, St. Croix and elsewhere, so far.

"Through this project and book, I wanted to paint a more comprehensive portrait of motherhood today – one that is real, communicates our complicated and sometimes contradictory feelings and hopefully increase understanding and compassion between and among mothers who, superficially, might seem quite different," she writes on her website. "The first person I interviewed was my mother-in-law, who died soon after of end-stage breast cancer. The day I interviewed her, when she was very, very sick, I asked why she continued a very grueling treatment regimen. Her response, 'Once you’re a mother, whether they’re one or 50, you don’t want to leave those children.'"

Ogburn, who. for full disclosure I know through gymnastics and school circles, is seeking some more moms to fill out the project.

She'd especially love to hear from moms who are on the verge of having an empty nest; moms whose adult children have returned home because they cannot support themselves or their children in this economy; a mom with a fatal health diagnosis; and low-income mothers struggling to support their children.

For much more about her project, including some of the stories she's collected, and to learn how you can be a part of it, go to Ogburn's website.



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