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Human Parts
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

Mothers Day

In Human Parts. More on Medium.

A daughter reflects on wanderlust, travel, and her mother’s life before triplets

Text by: Brooke Mazurek
Photography and collage by: Paige Mazurek

When my mother found out she was pregnant with triplets, she quit her job and let her passport expire. She was elated and scared, nauseated and starving — and by her second trimester, under strict orders to stay in bed.

For the next four months while she lay on her left side, my mother’s belly swelled, stretching in such a way that it required scaffolding — a harness doctors custom-designed to support the weight of us all. From the back, she looked narrow. From the front, enormous. …

Searching for masculinity and maternity in the American Southwest

Photos by author.

“[T]he strangeness and wonder of existence are emphasized here, in the desert, by the comparative sparsity of the flora and fauna: life not crowded upon life as in other places but scattered abroad in spareness and simplicity, with a generous gift of space for each herb and bush and tree, each stem of grass, so that the living organism stands out bold and brave and vivid against the lifeless sand and barren rock. The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life forms. Love flowers best in openness and freedom.” …

On seeing my mom as a whole person, not just a parent

My mom

Every Mother’s Day, I write my mom a letter. When I was little, I’d deliver it to her in bed, alongside coffee and a plate of poorly made eggs. In high school, I’d give it to her reluctantly, and in college it was accompanied by flowers or chocolate. However presented, the letter itself was always similar: it voiced appreciation for my mom as a mom — as if that function were the sole defining feature of her life.

Turns out, it’s not.

Here’s my mom on a Thursday night in 1976, standing on the side of the Wayland High School…

My birthday made me wonder: How do I age with grace?

All illustrations by Gayle Kabaker

I recently turned 60. I sure don’t feel 60 and I’m told I don’t look it, but the milestone made me wonder: How do I age with grace? My mother died when she was 48 and I was 23, so I wasn’t able to watch her age when I was an adult.

Mom went gray very young. She was quite beautiful and wore her hair short, salt-and-pepper with a chic white swooping forelock. I can tell from old photos that she was more stylish when I was a kid. (You can see it in the painting below from an epic…

And you’re not wrong to feel disenfranchised by it

Photo: William F. Campbell/Getty Images

There’s a word I love, “matrescence,” which describes the psychological process of becoming a mother. Psychologist Aurélie Athan brought it into the mainstream after discovering anthropologist Dana Raphael’s work; both women had seen the need for research about a mother’s interior state when functioning as a person, rather than only as a carer for a child.

What I like about the word is that it teases out the fragile, private metamorphosis of self from the glom of “childbearing” and “mothering” and “motherhood” that takes up so much psychic space. …

Becoming a mother can be beautiful. It can also be miserable.

Photo by Alex Pasarelu on Unsplash

The journey to motherhood can be one of the most profoundly sacred experiences a woman can have. It can also be painful, jarring and incredibly lonely. I should know, because I’ve experienced all of it.

I was just shy of my 36th birthday when my daughter was born. Her birth itself was relatively painless — my doctor had recommended an epidural before I even felt much of anything, and I remained completely numb from the waist down throughout the delivery. At the time, this seemed like a very good thing. Why would I possibly want to experience excruciating pain?


How eating pasta in Italy helped me cope with postpartum depression

Photo: fotostorm/iStock/Getty Images Plus

In a small trattoria in Florence, Italy, I sit in the dim light of candles burning in repurposed wine bottles. The wax drips down the rim and neck of the glass bottles in layers as my sister and I sample pecorino Romano cheese from an oval wooden platter. A small jar of honey sits on one end of the platter, across from thin, precise slices of crostini.

I shift in my seat, waiting for the pizza I’ve ordered. To my left, our server leans against the front counter, talking to another server with ease. At the 12 or so tables…

On parents, layoffs, and resume templates

Photo: SG Hirst/Image Source/Getty Images

Three years ago, my mom lost the job she’d had for 35 years — as a dental hygienist in my hometown. When she called to tell me she’d been let go, her voice was automatic, like the words were marching out of her mouth and she was trying to get out of the way.

Cuts, she said. Restructuring. Losses. Thirty seconds of corporatese to hide the rawest kind of fear and confusion — which, honestly, is hard to hear from your mom.

My parents have almost no savings. My dad has a heart condition that disappears his Social Security checks…

The heavy truth of motherhood

Credit: Vosparee/iStock/Getty Images Plus

I had never heard of a copywriter before, let alone been inside an ad agency. So when, as a recent communications graduate, I found myself being ushered into a woman’s office for an informational interview, I was in awe. It appeared to me to be the pinnacle of success — a woman who had her own office and was paid to write. She was kind enough to field my questions and give me an office tour, introducing me to her coworkers. She also divulged that she was leaving her job to go back to school. …

Mourning the mother-daughter connection I never had

Illustration: Alberto Miranda

The water is warm, the sound of an alto accompanied by a guitar streams in, and candles flicker overhead. My 15-year-old daughter and I sit side by side in a large water-filled room of Sevilla’s Baños Arabes. We listen to the singer switch from Portuguese fado to Spanish bolero to Frank Sinatra’s legato, and I think that this right here is the most perfect moment of our mother-daughter weekend.

“Margarita.” An attendant steps into the room and waves to me. “Time to go upstairs.”

We climb several flights of stairs and emerge on the roof, where the blue pool with…

Human Parts

A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

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