Worry Scroll: The First Year / 2014, intaglio, gouache, 70' x 10'
This scroll is a collection of worries and confessionals I wrote during my first year of motherhood. The methodical process of writing, printing, painting, and sewing balanced the new, unpredictable life I carved out for myself. The concerns surfaced and dissipated as the months rolled by, and I was surprised at the intensity and volume of the unknown.
Judith Warner’s research on mothers in my demographic – entitled, Gen X, well-educated, middle class, third-wave feminist white females – notes the “choking cocktail of guilt, anxiety, resentment, and regret” that often comes with the self-doubt we have in parenting decisions and in the juggling act of parenthood and careers. She is interested in the “caught by-the-throat-feeling of always doing something wrong.” The women she interviewed were privileged yet anxiety-ridden due to the overwhelming amount of information regarding the most optimal approaches for emotional, mental, and physical health of their children. Intellectually, I understood the danger of hyper-vigilance, but emotionally I couldn’t help myself from anxious neurosis. I became that woman I knew not to become – I was enculturated.
Warner, Judith. (2005) Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the age of anxiety. New York: Riverhead Books.