Colleen H. Clements
As I typed the above date to begin this letter, I had to stop and think if I had it correct. 2021? Is that really what year it is? As I have heard so many others say over the past eighteen months or so, time seems to have lost all sense of meaning during the pandemic.
The pandemic. It is still with us. The Journal of Mother Studies took a break in 2020, in the spirit of, and in solidarity with, all exhausted and caring mothers, hoping to make it easier for all of us to focus on what really mattered. And in the end, it all matters. So here we are, in 2021, when things have certainly changed, but perhaps not so much as we would have hoped. But hope we must, and one way of harnessing our collective hope is to continue the work of the Journal of Mother Studies, expressing the moment through the art and writing of our many contributors.
The theme this year is (what else?) mothering in the midst of pandemic. We are not the first to note that there are multiple pandemics raging: not just the various experiences with COVID-19, but also the ongoing pandemics of racial injustice, economic injustice, gender injustice, and climate injustice. In the face of these multiple pandemics, the authors and artists represented in this issue of the Journal of Mother Studies help us to make sense of the multiple pandemic experiences in multiple ways and from multiple perspectives.
We are excited to share with you the work of these contributors and are humbled by their ability to capture something important about this experience, as each and every one of them does. Whether it is a photo study accompanying often unspoken lived experiences of mothering, or a scholarly analysis of maternal labor and gendered performance. Some of the pieces examine the experience of time in a pandemic and how we mark it, through our relationship to physical objects or by waiting. And these are only a few of the many remarkable ways our contributors are making sense of this moment. We have benefitted from all of it, and we know you will, too.
The process of putting this issue of the journal together marked for me the move from longtime fan and appreciator of the work done by the Museum of Motherhood and the Journal of Mother Studies to a contributor to the labor necessary to make it happen. I am humbled and deeply grateful to have been a part of the supportive and collaborative process that has been a long-established part of the ethos of this space. We need more of this kind of work in the world, and it is with great joy that I move this work onto its next phase and to you, the readers and viewers of the pieces herein that have been so thoughtfully and carefully crafted. May they sustain you and give you insight and strength as we continue to collectively face the multiple pandemics.
In peace and solidarity,
Colleen H. Clements
Journal of Mother Studies, 2021