Becoming a Mother: Pregnancy and Transformation in English Poems Written by Contemporary Mother Poets

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Pussadee Kaewpunya Nghia

Abstract

This interdisciplinary research study employs Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner’s sociological conception of liminality (or the rite of passage), as a tool through which to study mothering experiences as represented in selected American English poems about pregnancy, birthing and nursing written by contemporary white mothers. The research also follows the argument of Jean Shinoda Bolen, in arguing that becoming a mother is a sacred journey, and by way of this consideration, explaining the spiritual transformation of the various mother personas in the selected poems. The research attempts to testify that mothering experiences, despite some prevailing tension and hindrances, paradoxically enable women to delve further into their individuated consciousness of womanhood, uncovering the autonomous power already present within and enabling them to grow spiritually. It aims to honor the precious bond between mothers and their children, promote mothering as a source of female empowerment and also foster public recognition of the incipient potentiality of women’s creative power as mothers.

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