Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Expressing Motherhood Report February 3, 2011

As I mentioned last Thursday, I went to see my friend Holly in her show Expressing Motherhood last weekend. I got myself dolled up, drove to Hollywood, circled the dodgy neighborhood until I found parking, and took a seat in the 4th row.

I decided I was going to get past my hang-ups and do this for my friend, but about ten minutes before the show, I suddenly thought, “Oh, God. What am I doing here?” The audience was about 95% women, and I’d guess from the conversations going on around me, about 95% of them were mothers. And there I sat, on my own, wondering what the hell I had been thinking. But then the lights went down and I had no choice but to sit it out.

For the next two hours 13 mothers told stories and sang songs, but here’s what was really interesting. To me, they weren’t 13 mothers, they we simply 13 women who just happened to be mothers. Granted, some of the stories, particularly the funny ones, were about the ups and downs of raising kids, but I was able to laugh just as easily as the mothers in the audience.

There were stories about relocating to a safer friendlier city, about becoming a 30-something widow, and about the funny side of living with Stage 4 Breast Cancer (and yes there really is a funny side!) One woman talked about reconnecting with the Chinese heritage that her father had eschewed in the name of Westernization, and another talked about the effects of her husband’s job loss.

I could relate to all of their stories in some way, or at least see the humor or pathos (although I’ll admit that during one particular story, the only dry eye in the house was mine, but that may have been because I’d steeled myself for the show and perhaps closed myself off a bit. Or maybe I’m just hard-hearted. Whatever.) The point is that yes, I was a lone non-mom in a sea of mothers, but we were all (or at least 95% of us) were women, and 100% of us were human beings, and we can all relate to that. Being a mom, or a non-mom, is only a part of who we are.

This particular show has closed now, but another show with a new set of performers will be coming soon, and I may even go back.


6 Responses to “Expressing Motherhood Report”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    Wow. Good for you. I’m glad you were able to tackle this hill and surmount it.

    And to not just endure it, but to find a common thread of humanity. Kudos. I’m so glad it wasn’t as much a trial as you feared.

  2. HR Hughes Says:

    Yea Lisa! You did it! It was so wonderful to share my story with you and very profound for me that you came despite your understandable reservations.

    Love you! Oh and I read your book in a staggering 2 days! You are a force of nature.
    xx Holly

  3. Mali Says:

    Well done for going!

    What a difference it would have made if the performance had been renamed Expressing Womanhood, and perhaps included the story of one infertile woman. We would all have felt included then, and positive towards the performance, but mothers do seem very good at excluding non-mothers.

    • HR Hughes Says:

      I’m sorry you feel that mothers exclude other women. I can’t speak for everyone out there, but that issue is one I am writing about this month on my blog. The issue of fertility verses infertility. It’s a huge topic, one I am familiar with on some level as I’ve suffered 2 miscarriages. And since I am thinking about doing a show of my own in North Carolina I hope you’ll be okay if I take your input and put it out there when I ask for submissions.

    • lmanterfield Says:

      Well, stay tuned, Mali, because the same thought crossed my mind. More to come soon….

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