But what does that mean for our creativity? For that, I turned to the iconic feminist writer Adrienne Rich, who, in the 1950s, married and had three kids before she was 30 and wrote so presciently about the challenges of creative life and motherhood.
Below we find Rich reflecting on the increasing tensions she experienced as a wife and mother during that time - and honestly, much of it reads like a snapshot from one of the many Instagram DM convos I’ve had with a fellow creative mother.
On that very-particular-to-parenthood exhaustion:
“I was writing very little…partly from the discontinuity of female life with its attention to small chores, errands, work that others constantly undo, small children’s constant needs. What I did write was unconvincing to me; my anger and frustration were hard to acknowledge in or out of poems because in fact I cared a great deal about my husband and my children.”
On losing yourself after having kids:
“What frightened me most was the sense of drift, of being pulled along on a current which called itself my destiny, but in which I seemed to be losing touch with whoever I had been, with the girl who had experienced her own will and energy almost ecstatically at times, walking around a city or riding a train at night or typing in a student room.”
On ‘having it all’:
“I had thought I was choosing a full life: the life available to most men, in which sexuality, work, and parenthood could coexist. But I felt…guilt toward the people closest to me, and guilty toward my own being. I wanted, then, more than anything, the one thing of which there was never enough: time to think, time to write.”
On finding the headspace to be creative:
“For a poem to coalesce…a certain freedom of the mind is needed—freedom to press on, to enter the currents of your thought like a glider pilot, knowing that your motion can be sustained, that the buoyancy of your attention will not be suddenly snatched away.
That “freedom of the mind” – secure in the knowledge you won’t have to drop what you’re doing – is what I often feel most robbed of. Even if I have somehow magically been able to create an actual pocket of time, I often find that I can be productive – reply to emails, tick off to-dos, schedule interviews – but being creative is the hard bit, isn’t it?
“The experience of motherhood was eventually to radicalize me” Rich went on to say, and, as this excellent New Yorker piece explores
, her work reclaimed and repurposed images of domestic life “to show how they might be used for—and transcended in—art”.