Joanna Rosenfeld, 4 February 2014



This was my very first session at D&D and what a pleasure it was! I feel honoured and

delighted about such a number of enthusiast and generous people to come and share

their stories, their opinions and and their visions, and with babies!

Our discussion was lively, in parts anecdotal and full of crawling pen grabbing

smallness. What fun.

What people want to see:

light and shade


joy and sorrow

end of duality

3 D of the experience, not just the horror

the pressure if you don't have the magical birth

what happens in the body during labour

no one talks about it - as if no one understands.

no judgement

the strangeness of the knowledge that it will happen

baby controls time

take the myths out

a story that speaks to men as well

projected future scenario: the child left by mum for a week at the age of 5 in therapy

aged 35

Mums fantasies - what the child will do in the future

Umbilical - elastic as a metaphor for the tension of that relationship, between baby and


Playing at being mum from very early age, rehearsing until you have the real deal

use objects (refer to Rene Baker) - objects=signs,

Putting on a role/ like a coronation/ walking around as if playing a role.

costumes - wear all the costumes at the same time. What happens to that costume?

mothers guilt - the mothers role: completely immersive

- I experience a dimension of love I never experienced before

-”the mother stuff comes very strong for me. it is still strong. My daughter is 19.

- old mother at 38

What you are learning


What does it feel like? Only after 3 months I realised I feel like me with a baby.

Archetypal mother - GAP - me

the fantasy of becoming a parent

“a mother in the prenatal ward asked me “do you call her your daughter? I haven't got

there yet….”. (what happens if the baby comes out at the wrong time?)

patience - how do you do that?

connection to the outside world

totally - subsumed - enough

Exclusion - things to do with children/ parents

- things to do with no kids

What the show needs to be:

Inclusive - also for people who didn't have babies


Balanced - show the joy without showing off

- show the horrific but don't scar

Questions raised

What kind of parent are you?

Are there inherent skills?

How long does the show last?

Whose point of view, mother, father, baby, sister, brother?

how are men mothers?

how are men involved?

Do you have a maternal instinct?

Who am I making the show for?

what about women who don't want to be mothers, will they feel judged?

what about women who want to be mothers but can't?

Stories shared

“People complain about friends with children. Resentful.”

“pregnant - connected to that. but only later connected to the idea of birth.”

“I was due in August and I thought of going up and down the Royal Mile selling tickets

for the birth show”.

“I was 3 week early. Never got to the point of waiting.”

“You can be somebody (during labour) but still are you (with all the shit)”.

“my husband was invited to see the babies head by looking into a mirror on a stick in

the birthing pool. All he could think of was checking for IRA car bombs with such a

mirror. Inappropriate. “

“When leaving the hospital with the car seat, I was convinced someone would stop me

and ask “What are you doing?” and I’d say “It's mine!”.

“There is an expectation that you are transformed”.

“I feel really grown up when buying nappies.”

“spinning out on gas and air”

“People are persons who become parents.”

“Unlucky time.”

“I was crying about missing the other parts of myself, loosing the paradise. I regressed

to her age.”

“if I start abandoning my artistic self, I will become tight.”

“I wasn't my best and imagined my son on desert island disks.”

“There is only so much you can do.”

“You just don't have to over think it.”

“He lights up when he sees us.”

“You cannot be perfect. Be aware you are … anxious etc. The kid will pick up on all

the feelings. “

“We just have to be the best of ourselves.”

“I’m not used to not control time.” (in reference to an overdue baby)

“We are all mothers and we are all different.”

“I couldn't remember any birth stories people told me before having a baby.”

“You have to ditch the baby to do what you want to do.”

“I was nervous to share my positive and easy experience.”

“My partner saw the baby at birth, and immediately knew “she’s mine”. He had a

hugely transformational experience. My love for her was much more incremental. I will

never forget how it felt when she came out. There is a difference between the visual

and the tactile.”

“my partner has not experienced certain things.”

“ I wanted my brother to be there (at birth).”

“It’s the whole gambit. You get it all, boring, Devine, banal, enlightening, frustrating,

profound….even in the midst of trauma there is still laughter.”

“Mum said she used to lie awake at night because she thought she was a bad mum.

She worked. Dad stayed home. That is wrong. It makes me sad.”

“Quick strong sense of parenting”.

“Suddenly (after having a baby and feeling like i don't know what i am doing) looking at

other parents I think “you don't know what you are doing” or “I don't know what you are


“What if your baby has reflux? What if you had a bad birth? “there is more pressure if

you have a baby the same gender.” especially between mothers and girls.”

Suggested further thinking


“Ode to a mother”

“No, you’re not there for me!”

Rosetta Stone

Mary Kelly (artist) motherhood, post partum document

exhibits stained washed nappies

relationship to her baby - scribbles of the baby

- handwritten feelings of mum

- typed up developmental observations of the baby/ child

Tim Etchells “The night follows day” list of what parent tell their children written by 12

year olds

Poem “Vietman” By Wislawa Szymborska

“Woman, what's your name?” “I don't know.”

“How old are you? Where are you from?” “I don't know.”

“Why did you dig that burrow?” “I don't know.”

“How long have you been hiding?” “I don't know.”

“Why did you bite my finger?” “I don't know.”

“Don't you know that we won't hurt you?” “I don't know.”

“Whose side are you on?” “I don't know.”

“This is war, you've got to choose.” “I don't know.”

“Does your village still exist?” “I don't know.”

“Are those your children?” “Yes.”

Thank you all for your time and honesty.

Love and Peace,