Reflections on motherhood...

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A collection of quotes from authors on parenting...

"You squint at her with judging eyes, though you know that if you ever have children of your own you will do the same - you will soothe too loudly.  One thing you observed at your all-girls school: half of parenting is a performance for others."

- Vendela Vida, The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty

"The baby's eyes were dark, almost black, and when I nursed her in the middle of the night she'd look at me with a stunned, shipwrecked look as if my body were the island she'd washed up on."

- Jenny Offill, Dept of Speculation

"You feel a love you know you will never be able to adequately express to him, a love that flows one way, down the generations, not in reverse, and is understood and reciprocated only when time has made of a younger generation an older one."

- Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

"She cannot fathom, cannot grasp what happened to that person, that Elina of the charcoal lists, the ant sketches, the natural births, the buckets of cool water in the shade.  How did she become this - a woman in stained pyjamas, standing weeping at a window, a woman frequently possessed by an urge to run through the streets, shouting, will somebody please help me, please?"

-  Maggie O'Farrell, The Hand That First Held Mine

"But perhaps it's a delusion for each generation to think that they know better than their parents.  If this were true, then parental wisdom would increase with time like the processing power of computer chips, refining over generations, and we'd now be living in some sort of utopia of openness and understanding."

- David Nicholls, Us

"The minute you had children, you closed ranks.  You didn't plan this in advance, but it happened.  Families were like individual, discrete, moated island nations.  The little group of citizens on the slab of rock gathered together instinctively, almost defensively, and everyone who was outsidthe walls - even if you'd once been best friends - was now just that, outsiders.  Families had their ways.  You took note of how other people raised their kids, even other people you loved, and it seemed all wrong.  The culture and practices of ones own families were the only way, for better or worse.  Who could say why a family decided to have a certain style, to put up its particular refrigerator magnets?"

- Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

- Elizabeth Stone

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