Search Results for 'Laure Baudot'

Female Competition, Motherhood, and the Art of Writing: an interview with Laure Baudot

Laure Baudot’s short story, “Luck,” was published recently on the Fertile Source. Here she talks about writing and juggling motherhood.

You’ve written a short story that combines the issues of miscarriage, the competitiveness among women related to our fertility (the ability to conceive successfully and then to have healthy, successful babies), adoption, and the fragility of marriage. What brought all of these things together for you? What was the impetus to write this story?

Baudot: I’ve always been interested in competitiveness between women. After I had my first child, I was fascinated by the fact that the kind of competitiveness seen in the workplace around work issues is also found in mothers’ groups in regard to parenting styles. For example, the idea that “breast is best” is now au courant. In “Luck,” Lisa feels alienated from the other mothers because she’s unable to nurse her son. Eventually, she leaves the group. In her book Bad Mother, Ayelet Waldman writes about mothers dealing with this pressure to breastfeed, and her own struggle with nursing one of her children. I loved Waldman’s book, and I’m grateful to her for bringing these kinds of maternal narratives into public discourse.

I also wanted to explore some philosophical issues, particularly the question of how much control we have in shaping the lives of our children. “Luck’s” women think that their babies’ developmental milestones reflect their capabilities as mothers, which is almost certainly untrue. On the other hand, we have a certain degree of responsibility toward our children. The character Alison, whose son is slow to walk, doesn’t bring her son to therapy, and Peter faults her for her lack of action. Obviously, on some level, “Luck” touches on the nature/nurture debate. But I hope that readers are not left with the impression that my story draws any conclusion regarding this discussion. On the contrary, “Luck” asks questions, which, I would argue, is one of the jobs of fiction.

“Luck” compares how we treat our children to how we interact with people in general. At the end of the story, the protagonist decides not to adopt the Ethiopian child she had been in the process of adopting before becoming pregnant. The story asks: what is the protagonist’s responsibility, if any, toward the child she was going to adopt? Do we, as parents, have an ethical obligation to nurture children who are not ours? Should we feel a kind of accountability vis-a-vis our fellow human beings? These are questions relating to social action, a theme present in many of my stories.

I’m curious—what is your own personal response to those questions? And speaking of the story’s stymied adoption, the protagonist and her husband have very different understandings of their responsibility to continue with an adoption they’d started once the protagonist finds out she’s pregnant. Their marriage, as a result, hangs in the balance. How do you feel about your protagonist, who experiences very little emotional growth and doesn’t quite seem to see what is obvious to her husband?

 Baudot: I write fiction partly in order to grapple with these questions, which I haven’t yet been able to answer. I think that it’s crucial to discuss these issues, and fiction and poetry are wonderful mediums in which to do so: these genres (rather than the essay form, for example) allow you to address complex questions in a nuanced way.

As to Liz and Peter, they definitely have different ways of looking at adoption. Once Liz becomes pregnant, she becomes more self-involved than she was before. Part of this is a side effect of pregnancy: when pregnant, you’re very attuned to your body’s inner workings, and this can blind you to other, exterior events. Whatever the reason, it causes friction between Liz and Peter. I’m fairly certain that their marriage will not recover from it.

 As a new mother myself, I find this competitiveness among mothers really off-putting. Why can’t we support each other as women? Why does the cattiness continue after high school?

 Baudot: That’s a good question. Many fiction writers have addressed women’s struggles with social expectations around mothering. (Tillie Olsen, for example, as well as the contemporary Israeli writer Savyon Liebrecht).

Women need to find new ways of relating to each other. I’ve been a member of a Toronto women writers’ salon for six of the ten years it has been operating. The writers who founded it saw it as a means of fostering positive and productive relationships among women. Similarly, your sister website, “She Writes”, is a place where members can share concerns that are particular to women writers. These – the salon and your website—are two excellent ways of encouraging women to change the way they interact with each other.

Can you talk about how you juggle writing with the duties of a mother? Do you find your identity as an artist melding with your identity as a mother or do you keep them fairly separate?

Baudot: Juggling parenting and writing is a constant challenge. Because my children are still very young, I prioritize family life and try to spend as much time with them as possible. At the same time, writing is crucial to my sense of well-being, and I make time for this as well.

The American writer Richard Bausch suggests that writers train themselves to write any time and anywhere, particularly in places where there are children. I have to admit that I find it difficult to follow his advice. Writing for me is an intensely private act, and I prefer to separate it from parenting. Each morning, I work for two to three hours while my children are in childcare. I want to stress that writing for this length of time would be impossible without childcare. Also crucial is my husband’s support: he and I split household and parenting duties equally.

Happy Holidays

We’ve been enjoying the holidays here at Fertile Source and will be returning to our normal publishing schedule on January 3rd. In the meantime, we’ve posted a new interview with Laure Baudot, author of “Luck,” which we published last November.

Interviews

Amoroso, Amy: Into the Center of a Maze:Amy Amoroso on giving birth, motherhood, death, medical school, and writing by Jessica Powers, December 12, 2011

Angel, Ann & Amanda: Birth Mothers, Adoption, and Art: An interview with Ann & Amanda Angel by Jessica Powers, November 29, 2010

Bastian, Rebecca Kinzie:  “Suspended in Midair: Infants, Graduate School, and Wild Swans” By Tania Pryputniewicz, August 30, 2011

Baudot, Laure: Female Competition, Motherhood, and the Art of Writing: an interview with Laure Baudot by Jessica Powers, December 31, 2010

Baxter, Candice: Breasts, Sexual Objects, Flash Fiction, and Teen Pregnancy: an interview with Candice Baxter  by Jessica Powers, November 17, 2010

Beattie, Robyn: Fertile Variations: The Pregnant Body with Photographer Robyn Beattie By Tania Pryputniewicz, July 4, 2011

Black, Timothy: An Interview with Poet Timothy Black: Male Medusas, Beautiful Lies, and Cancer Sex, By Tania Pryputniewicz, September 29, 2010

Bonczek, Michelle:  Lamplighters and Unfertilized Eggs: Questioning Fertility-Centered Female Identity, Shadow Dialogues, and Conscious Choice/Conscious Devotion with Poet Michelle Bonczek by Tania Pryputniewicz, January 3, 2011

Bonnici, Kate Bolton: An Interview with Guest Poetry Editor Kate Bolton Bonnici, By Tania Pryputniewicz, August 24, 2012

Burns, Nancy: Excerpts from Birth Mandala: The Power of Visioning for Child Birth with Nancy Burns By Tania Pryputniewicz, March 5, 2012

Cano, Esther Chavez: Because I am a Woman, By Bobby Byrd, January 4, 2010

Capria, Alana I: “Abbreviated Motherhood, Abortion as Form of Love, and Revision as Medicine with Alana I. Capria,” By Tania Pryputniewicz, September 13, 2010

Corrigan, Brittney: An Interview with Brittney Corrigan: Second Hearts, Autism, and Mother Writer Retreats By Tania Pryputniewicz August 22, 2011

Cotter, Tasha: Exploring the Fictional Worlds of Poet Tasha Cotter By Tania Pryputniewicz, February 6, 2012

Davis, Nicelle: It Takes a Village to Raise a Poem, By Tania Pryputniewicz, June 29, 2010

DeCamp, Christine: Rhythms of Women and Nature: An Interview with Artist Christine DeCamp By Tania Pryputniewicz, By Tania Pryputniewicz, May 2, 2011

Eisdorfer, Erica: An interview on breastfeeding and wet nursing with Erica Eisdorfer by Jessica Powers, August 18, 2009

Eubanks, Scott: “Adoption, Developmental Disabilities, Parenthood, and Writing: An Interview with Scott Eubanks,” by Jessica Powers, February 9, 2011

Flood, Nancy Bo: No-Name Baby: Book Review and Interview by Ann Angel, September 3, 2012.

Flowers, Christopher: “The Common Ground of Emotion under Adversity: Witness/Father/Poet Christopher Flowers on ‘Ultrasound’ and ‘Skull Tectonics’” by Tania Pryputniewicz, January 17 2011

Frank, Sandy: Writing as Prelude to Sculpture with Sandy Frank: Rebirth, Snake Woman, and the Nest by Tania Pryputniewicz, June 2010

Fraser, Katherine: “Testaments to Resiliency: Deferred Motherhood, Divorce and Peace in the Artwork of Katherine Fraser,” by Tania Pryputniewicz, February 12, 2011

Freeman, Mike: Nature Writing, Procreation and The Human Condition by Jessica Powers, October 5, 2012

Givhan, Jennifer: Interview with Poet Jennifer Givhan, by Kate Bolton Bonnici, February 4, 2013

Glen-Smith, David: Possible Futures: Poetry, Puerto Rico and Adoption with David-Glen Smith by Tania Pryputniewicz, November 28, 2011

Hageman, Sheila: “Yoga, Body Image, and Motherhood vs. Stripping: An Interview with Sheila Hagemen,” by Tania Pryputniewicz, March 16, 2010

Hirshfeld-Flores, Alissa: An Interview with Alissa Hirshfeld-Flores: Birth, Death and Hospice, by Tania Pryputniewicz, October 5, 2012

Jennings, Alice Catherine: An Interview with Poet Alice Catherine Jennings, by Kate Bolton Bonnici, June 3, 2013

Jordan, Elaine: “Elaine Jordan on Infertility, Marriage, and Becoming a Clergywoman,” by Jessica Powers, February 22, 2011

Karpinska, Janina Ava: Reflections on Writing: Life, Laundry and Loss with Poet Janina Aza Karpinska by Tania Pryputniewicz, November 8, 2010

Kercher, Timothy: “Triplets and Translation in the Republic of Georgia with Poet Timothy Kercher.” By Tania Pryputniewicz, February 16, 2011

Kiefer, Molly Sutton: Poet, Mother, Resource Maven for Mothers, Writers, and Artists By Tania Pryputniewicz, June 25, 2012

Klemme, Laurie: The Politics of Motherhood and Poets Writing Fiction By Tania Pryputniewicz, February 12, 2014

Lee, Kenna: Balancing Eco-Feminism, Motherhood, and Writerdom: An Interview with Kenna Lee, By Tania Pryputniewicz, April 30, 2012

Lemoine, Monica Murphy: Interview with Miscarriage Survivor Monica Murphy Lemoine: Author of Knocked Up, Knocked Down By Tania Pryputniewicz, May 21, 2010

Lenox, Stephanie: Limitations, Imitations, and Haiku as Form of Expansion: an Interview with Poet Stephanie Lenox By Tania Pryputniewicz, October 24, 2011

Lewars, Corbin: Corbin Lewars on rape, miscarriage, sex, marriage, divorce and writing what you really feel By Jessica Powers, February 27, 2012

McPherson, Sandra: Poetry’s Secret Rooms with Sandra McPherson: Bloodlines, Adoption, and The Spaces Between Birds By Tania Pryputniewicz, August 16, 2011

O’Brien, Andrea: The Mystery and The Mess: Motherlines and Motherless Women with Poet Andrea O’Brien By Tania Pryputniewicz, June 20 2011

Peary, Alexandria: Holographic Haiku and Genetic Futures: Poet Alexandria Peary on Fertility and Follain By Tania Pryputniewicz, February 25, 2014

Peters, Bonnie: On Healing, God, Creativity, and Parenting a Child with Disabilities: An Interview with Bonnie Peters By Jessica Powers, July 16, 2012

Powers, J.L.: HIV-AIDS in Africa, rape and sexual violence in South Africa and Becoming a Mother Writer: an Interview with J.L. Powers By Tania Pryputniewicz, March 21, 2011

Ptacin, Mira. Fear, Love, Pregnancy, Loss, and Memoir: Mira Ptacin on writing “A Kind of Love” by Jessica Powers, May 9, 2011

Richards, Jim: Father Witness, Birth vs. God: An Interview with poet Jim Richards By Tania Pryputniewicz, May 30, 2011

Rizzo, Lisa: Celebrating the Foregoing of Motherhood: Poetry in the Service of Spiritual Quandary, Lineage, and Teaching Adolescents with Poet Lisa Rizzo by Tania Pryputniewicz, November 14, 2011

Robins, Tonja: Miscarriage and The Beauty of the Ordinary, by Tania Pryputniewicz, July 12, 2010

Rohan, Ethel: The Power of Domestic Realism, Male Protaginists and The Dual Degree: Mills and Motherhood with Writer Ethel Rohan  By Tania Pryputniewicz, July 18, 2011

Schmidt, Lauren: Puberty’s Monologue, Fearless Language, and Writing Despite Opposition by Tania Pryputniewicz, August 2, 2010

Sobkiw, Elizabeth: Pregnant in a Barren Landscape: Art, Control, and Premature Ovarian Failure with Artist Elizabeth Sobkiw by Tania Pryputniewicz, September 19, 2011

Stewart, Lydia: Lydia Stewart on Child Abuse, Parenting, and Children’s Rights by Tania Pryputniewicz, March 29, 2010

Swift, Joan: The Poetry of Joan Swift: Snow on a Crocus, Formalities of a Neonaticide By Tania Pryputniewicz, October 12, 2010

Thompson, Laura: Male Miscarriage, Reptilian vs. Human Mating Rituals, and Inappropriate Lactation: An Interview with Poet Laura Thompson by Tania Pryputniewicz, January 9, 2012

Voute Roeder, Antoinette: An Interview with Antoinette Voûte Roeder: The Poetry of Reunion, Poetry as Communion by Tania Pryputniewicz, November 22, 2010

Worthington, Leslie: Bastard Babies are born with broken hearts: an interview with Leslie Worthington By Jessica Powers, January 23, 2012

Luck

Fiction by Laure Baudot

When Noreen compliments Alison on her cake, Alison smiles a tiny, hardwood canoe of a smile at odds with her pudgy, optimistic face, the one that used to look on the world as if it were one long drink of water. I recognize this smile from the days before I had Archana, back when people told me that losing my pregnancies was for the best, that it was nature’s way of weeding out ill babies.

“It’s from a mix,” says Alison.

“Still,” adds Sophie, the only blond one here, and the most level-headed.

Sophie is comforting Alison because, although the rest of our kids have been moving around for a while, Alison’s son Malcolm doesn’t even turn over by himself yet. For the past few weeks, we’ve been toning down our talk of our babies’ milestones. But despite our best efforts, and our innate, Canadian politeness, the subject of our babies’ progress keeps resurfacing.  Continue reading ‘Luck’




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