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We Want To Read: Maternal Desire

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Photo Via GoodReads

A lot of things have changed since 2004 (namely: the internet’s frenetic evolution). However, we think it’s still safe to put Daphne de Marneffe’s circa-2004 book, Maternal Desire, at the top of our “must read” list, thanks to its rather timeless subject matter. We were just randomly introduced to the author and clinical psychologist in a recent NPR interview, in which she was asked about how putting images of one’s children on Instagram and Facebook shapes a mother’s identity. This was the first time we heard about de Marneffe’s decade-old tome, and after we read this excerpt, we only want more!

The 432-page book explores the deep-rooted desire that most women, it is argued, have to care for their children. This natural desire is then presented in contrast to one’s sense of self, feminist ideals, returning to the workplace, and other realities.

We often resist thinking through [maternal desire’s] implications because we fear becoming mired in cliché about woman’s nature, which will then be used to restrict women’s rights and freedoms,” de Marneffe explains in the book’s introduction. “But if we resist thinking about maternal desire, or treat it as a marginal detail, we lose an opportunity to understand ourselves and the broader situation of women. To take maternal desire as a valid focus of personal exploration is not a step backward but a step forward, toward greater awareness and a truer model of the self.

With work-life balance and “having it all” being a perpetually hot—and often confusing—topic, we’re ready to hear a fresh, somewhat non-PC take on that matter. How about you? (And for another, much more recent book release we’re excited about, click here!)

Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life, starting at $1.57, Amazon.

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