By Martha Joy Rose
This has been an unusual year on so many levels. Our traditional source of academic papers, that feature presentations from participants at our annual academic MOM Conference, was slated to be part of SEWSA at USF in March. The event was canceled due to COVID. Still, submissions came in, along with a few book reviews, and some artworks. Thematically, the submissions were on diverse topics, not necessarily connected except for the motherhood thread. I thought about putting the journal aside this year. But, Patricia English Schneider’s piece on “Mourning Mother” was deeply moving and Olatunbosun Samuel Adekogbe’s submission about “The Cultural Value of Motherhood” in Jimi Solanke’s Music (in Africa), compelled. I thought, perhaps curious scholars need to see this information?
After reviewing Dr. Domenica DelPrete’s piece on “C-sections in Brazil” and the lit-review of “Productivity and Disability” by Anelise Farris, it was clear that even without the conference we had enough submissions to proceed. What I lacked in clarity, energy, and enthusiasm as COVID raged was mobilized when a colleague introduced me to Wendy Carolina Franco, a psychologist writing about her experience of communicating the trauma of George Floyd’s death to her sons. Her piece, “A Body Other Than My Own” is featured herein.
A COVID-related paper crossed my desk, penned by Kimberly Hillier and Christopher J. Greig along with a separate submission on “Maternal Guilt”. Then, while teaching Introduction to Sociology online this summer at Manhattan College, one of my students wrote a tremendously lucid paper on historical factors influencing Family and Gender. Since the focus of our conferences always includes student presentations, I thought it would be meaningful to invite her to share her contribution to the general reading public.
Throughout all of this, Kimya Barden, who has participated both in the conference and the journal for multiple consecutive years kept writing with updates from Chicago hoping to get her submission completed. As a mother of young children, in the heart of the city where riots ensued, I sensed life was throwing her one curveball after another. I have included a link here to an article addressing the drop in women’s submissions to academic journals during 2020 related to COVID, caregiving, and motherhood. The article mentions difficulties with writing, editing, and reviews.
Finally, last week, I was contacted by Samantha Kolber whose poetry book titled Birth of a Daughter was recently published by Kelsay Books. A review was quickly organized.
The Journal of Mother Studies accepts submissions on a rolling basis. This is definitely the kind of year where everyone has to roll with the punches. We need to support each other, celebrate each other, and keep writing. While this year’s journal is unconventional, it is certainly a powerful read. I’m deeply honored to have been able to contribute to the dissemination of these pieces. Stay healthy. Stay strong.