Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Embarking on the Mother Ship

The latest book of Francesca Segal is different than all the other ones she ever wrote. Mother Ship is a memoir documenting diary-style the time her identical twin daughters born ten weeks prematurely spent in the neonatal section. 
As usual, there is a before and after and and the future is filled  with uncertainties. It shows the fine lines separating life from death, the fragility of human beginnings, and the power - although random and temporarily - of human connections and sisterhood. 
Day by day, she is recording the slight changes into the life of the girls, born 10 weeks earlier than expected: she is destructuring gestures and feelings, learning to learn and decipher new languages and values. 'The consultant replies with averages, with statistics, with outcomes, with contingencies', she shares about her interactions with the many specialists and nurses surrounding the little daughters. This new world is unexpected and obviously she is not prepared for it. It is not the motherhood she was looking for: guarding the screens recording the vital signs of her daughters, feeding them with syringe, trying to see them through the many tubes obstructing their small faces.
The words are helping to reflect on this reality. She is no more a writer or an employed busy person, she is becoming a mother. What does it really mean is a matter of personal interpretation. Sisterhood of the mothers in the neonatal section helps, it offers a background but most importantly the much needed support.
'Today, I sit down silently in a room of strangers, expressing and expressing. I have no milk. But women talk there while there own bottles fill, and I listen at their feet like a disciple'.
Once the situation is getting stable, she is starting to reclaim her life back, her body, her relationship. Also her own interpretation of motherhood, beyond what are the society and cultural expectations. 
In addition, this memoir is also a kind account of the dedication of the medical personnel, their unconditional professionalism and love for the little humans.
The Mother Ship is different of other books about motherhood from the point of view of the topic approached but also the genuine, not emotional yet candid different introduction to motherhood. Although not a favorite topic, the good writing kept me interested until the happy ending.

Rating: 4 stars

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