People have always asked me, “So Mara, you grew up with so many men in your life, are you the “girl” who has no women friends?” This is not the case, I adore women – and without my amazing sisters no one would validate my unique blend of Mara crazy. Susan Copich, with her latest photographic series entitled “Domestic Bliss” reminds me of long conversations I’ve had with so many of my friends, but especially my friend Susana. The calls usually consist of me expressing my inner fantasies and engaging in dialogue about societal rules.
Susana usually reminds me that, I don’t follow that many rules, and sites my constant interactions with the authorities. But it’s not the rules I care so much about – it’s the offspring. When we become mothers, we know as intuitive, intelligent and responsible women that we must adhere to some guidelines….like not escaping to India for three months to “find ourselves”, but instead taking yoga with an Indian instructor.
“Mommy Time” from Domestic Bliss Photo Series by Susan Copich (pictured above)
Adrienne Rich, the American Poet wrote about “Motherhood as an institution”, she freely through poetry revealed almost an obsession with retaining one’s self after becoming a mother. The above photograph to me, is an Adrienne Rich poem brought to life.
After I had a baby, I was generously invited by women I didn’t know to join a mommy group. From the first get together, I left feeling depressed. I left the intellectual stimulation of my work at United Way to discuss baby blankets and teething. My individuality seemed meaningless, I felt trapped in a sea of emptiness – and felt confused as the role of young woman and mature mother came together. Leading a “traditional” life was not something I ever thought about, but it happened – and it happened when I was too young to understand the depth of my feelings. Relating to other women because they have kids, is a ridiculous notion – and it made me feel like I didn’t belong in the club of motherhood.
Because none of my close friends were even in serious relationships at that time, I was lonely on planet motherhood..and forced to find friends who could relate. Only, that proved difficult. I remember meeting other mothers and thinking, are they satisfied being “only” mothers? They discussed their life with spouse and offspring like they were rock stars on stage…So why the hell did I feel like I needed a life outside all this domesticity?
NOW, I know, it’s because like Adrienne Rich, I was obsessed (without knowing) with retaining my self outside of motherhood. And this is when I decided to not discuss my children, when I was out at night. Little did I know, I was embarking on my own feminism experiment all while questioning social norms.
“Mother’s Milk” from Susan Copich’s Domestic Bliss Photo Series (Susan pictured above)
Attachment and freedom. Sexuality, Individuality and Motherhood. I’m writing this as I multi-task giving love and care to my youngest, who’s home sick from school. Liam saw the above shot, and with eyes wide open said “If you made me do that, I would push you and run”. It’s hard to examine something like motherhood without realizing the economic component of Feminism. I have choices, I was able to stay home today and write. I don’t have to worry about work- child care..it’s easy for me. I have privilege, and therefore; choices.
Kids open you up to so much, but allow you the excuse to not take risks. Motherhood is a constant struggle as an individual to adhere to social norms, even when you think they are bullshit and stifling. The struggle is the judgement that comes with rejecting those unwritten rules.
Susan and her daughters. Upstate New York. January 2015.
Fashion Notes: Jacket: Helmut Lang, Black Skinny Jeans: Citizens of Humanity, Boots: Ugg, Sunglasses: Morgenthal Frederics. The girls are wearing leggings by Carrots, Down Jackets by Canada Goose and Boots by Bogg
Susan Copich: Susan is the photographer and artist behind the acclaimed photo series, “Domestic Bliss”. With a number of collections housed at The Moen Mason Gallery, http://www.moenmasongallery.com. Susan’s latest, “Domestic Bliss” series is beyond worthy of the attention. This particular series in Susan’s body of work is based on her personal experiences as a mother and has touched a nerve. From the moment my friend forwarded me the link to Susan’s photographs, I immediately wanted to talk about these shots. Susan captures the struggle, and poked fun of it at the same time. Susan Copich’s series is so thought provoking, It has caused me to intellectualize the shit out of women – motherhood- partnership -Susan made me think and that’s the sign of a great artist. http://susancopich.com