Apr 5

Momma Love is not only about the love a mother shows. It’s about the love she is shown, by herself and the world around her.

We all feel an undeniable pull toward our mother’s love. If the bond between you and your mother was strong and healthy, it created a space of unparalleled safety and comfort for you. If it was distorted or missing, you’ve probably spent a lifetime coming to terms with that fact, seeking it out or letting it go. Either way, mother love is profoundly symbolic and powerful—so much so that entire religions, mythologies, and classic works of literature are built around either the sanctity or the destructive power of it. Societies need “Momma Love” in order to survive, but very often don’t know how to take care of it properly.

The details and rituals of motherhood largely go unnoticed and are taken for granted. They are talked about among mothers in private places—in toy-strewn living rooms, in kitchens, or over the phone while a child throws a tantrum on the floor nearby. To an outsider, motherhood seems like a profoundly important secret society, one that I started this project to understand more fully.

Each woman I photographed for this project has the truth of her experience to offer. In creating this book I have attempted to bring a community to light, creating a patchwork-quilt of advice, empathy, reflection, commiseration, opinion, anger, assurance, and love. In order to nurture healthier mothers and a healthier society, honest conversations about the realities of motherhood and how mothers are treated are necessary.

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If you have your own MOMMA LOVE story to share, please share it here! Maybe your story will become a part of the project. (Nothing you write will be used without your prior permission)

And stay tuned for updates on the release of this book.


6 comments so far...

  • Jonesie Said on August 1st, 2010 at 3:07 pm:

    Hi Ali, I learned of your work on a blog I frequent (mommasgonecity) and first let me say your work is so beautiful and I can relate to most of the pics in Momma Love. While my relationship with my mother is strained for the most and questionable for the rest, becoming a mother was something so emotionally unexpected, physically draining, but overall the BEST thing that ever happened to me and I’m so glad that it’s not something being tucked to the side but celebrated as a job, an honor, a life changing charge. Thank you.

  • alismith Said on August 11th, 2010 at 9:54 am:

    Hi Jonesie

    Our relationships with our moms are so powerful! For better or worse, we always have to make sense of them. I’ve found that mothering helps me do that a bit. Maybe because I’m separating from my role in that dynamic enough to take on the motherhood role myself.

    i wonder if, now that you’re a mom, you have less or more understanding / compassion for the things about your mom that you think made her lacking?…

    Stay in touch.
    xa

  • julie Said on August 18th, 2010 at 9:43 pm:

    My relationship with my mother was anything but loving. After my mom and dad divorced, my brother and I lived with her and I felt ignored, neglected and angry. I spent a good part of my life not feeling good about myself and insecure on many levels. I struggled from relationship to relationship, whether a friendship or boyfriend. I had a baby in college, an abusive 10 year marriage and 2 more children and then got remarried and had 3 more children. I am finally at peace with myself and enjoy being a mother more than anything in life. I used to think I wouldn’t be good at it because I really didn’t get what I needed from my parents. I somehow found my way and I am very proud of the mom that I am. I broke the cycle and I am glad I did for my children and myself. I am exactly where I want and need to be!

  • Collen Said on February 4th, 2011 at 1:22 am:

    Becoming a mother to my five stepchildren was a rite of passage I still can’t fully put to words. Having two little ones pass through my body has helped me become a better mother to all of them. Mt first was 6 weeks premature and under 4lbs, my second was healthy, full term and would probably nurse till college. The diversity of love you can feel is equal to the diversity within the people in your life. It has no limit and no end. I’m a better person for having ever known them. Becoming a mother has made me change everything in my life.

  • Colleen Said on February 4th, 2011 at 1:22 am:

    Becoming a mother to my five stepchildren was a rite of passage I still can’t fully put to words. Having two little ones pass through my body has helped me become a better mother to all of them. Mt first was 6 weeks premature and under 4lbs, my second was healthy, full term and would probably nurse till college. The diversity of love you can feel is equal to the diversity within the people in your life. It has no limit and no end. I’m a better person for having ever known them. Becoming a mother has made me change everything in my life.

  • alismith Said on February 5th, 2011 at 12:35 am:

    Hi Colleen
    Wow! 5 step children and two biological! That is an amazing accomplishment. I raised one step daughter and am now raising my son. I love your comment about the diversity of love. As a step-mother, I felt incredibly bonded with my step-daughter and couldn’t imagine how I would have felt any differently had she been my biological child. And then I had my biological child and I felt there was no reason to even compare the two. I loved them both deeply, but in very different ways to each other, maybe simply because they were separate people, maybe biology had something to do with it. It really didn’t matter though. The love was there in both cases. I know not every person has this experience. I would love to hear more about your story! Where are you located? If you’d prefer to email me directly, you can reach me at alismithphoto@mac.com.
    All the best
    Ali

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