Momview: Starring Emily Adler Mosqueda
Can you share a little bit about yourself?
I am half Mexican and Scandinavian and grew up in Oregon. In my mid-twenties was when I began to self-identify with being Latina and had acquired bilingual language skills. I became a mother in 2014 and again in 2017. In 2018, I experienced many breakdowns that lead to deep and life-changing breakthroughs and I started writing a memoir about it. It will be published in early 2023 by Canadian feminist press Demeter Press and its called Unexpected: A Postpartum Memoir. Professionally I’m a Clinical Assistant Professor and teach future speech-language pathology students how to work with caregiver-child dyads in early intervention. Since my own maternal mental health struggles and motherhood revelations, I now teach about how to have a ‘caregiver-centered’ practice after learning about Matricetric Feminism.
How did your motherhood journey start?
I started my journey with a misscarage after nine months of trying to conceive. With my first child I was staunchly independent and self-sufficient, like I thought I needed to be and how ‘good mothers’ were. I loved being my child’s everything.
What was your birthing experience(s) like?
My first birth experience was very positive and magical with hypnobirthing education prior and included an epidural upon pushing. My second birthing experience was challenging and I required many hours of pitocin and a stronger epidural. My birthing did not ‘get going’ on it’s own or quickly like I’d been made to believe subsequent babies did.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had as a mom? Do you think some of them, or all of them, could have been avoided or lessened if we had a more supportive maternal culture in America?
Becoming a mother of two children started to get real hard and overwhelming at 3 months postpartum. For me, it progressed and by 8 months postpartum with my two kids, I had to take a leave from my job to seek out counseling and alternative supports for postpartum depression and anxiety symptoms. I do think much of my struggles physically and mentally could have been mitigated or avoided if there was more supports for mothers, but more so, if there had been a different societal mindset about what it means to be a ‘good mother’.
In your opinion, how do we evoke and incite a sisterhood of motherhood?
When there are opportunities to share and connect among mothers, I found writing with other mothers powerful, that can be a place of natural containment and support as well as a fertile environment for sharing and connecting.
How do you think we go about encouraging moms to care about other mom’s problems, even if they aren’t shared problems?
If maternal empathy isn’t there, teach it. Since becoming a mother, many of my pre-children biases towards mothers have gone away. The whole process and my struggles after having my second child in particular, have opened my eyes and my heart to care more than ever about all mothers.
If you could create a new maternal culture tomorrow, what would it look like?
We’d be teaching child development and Motherhood Studies topics starting in middle grades and throughout highschools in the U.S. Open conversations about the needs of caregiving for a child/children and how partnerships and communities can share the load for when and if babies are born. Education would demystify the glamorized fantasy that is pregnancy and motherhood in the U.S. And with younger children, teaching that asking for help and relying on others and loving our imperfection is what makes us all valuable people.
We talk about how you can’t put the maternal social policy cart before the maternal connection and equality horse. Do you agree with that?
Yes, in that when connection is established the real specific needs will be known. If policies are made without that genuine connection it will only be a surface level support.
What maternal social policies do you think the U.S. should have? And why?
Universal paid birthing and partner leave for at least 6 months. If a child has two caregivers, each deserves time and pay to adjust to their being alive and bonding.