It can be challenging to understand the literal meaning of “labor” until you birth a child. Ali Smith has done it, gets it and has a precious little boy with her husband to show for it. But she’s been laboring another project for much longer than nine months: a book.
For the past 12 years, the New York-based photographer has been working on seeing Momma Love: How the Mother Half Lives come to life.
“Mothers are made to feel that if their parenting experience isn’t all soft focus moments of bliss and fulfillment, they’re doing something wrong,” Smith writes. “But as any mother may admit in private, motherhood is a really hard job. It’s a 24-hour-a-day, unpaid job for which mothers receive varying degrees of support from partners, employers, lawmakers and society at large.”
Her book is a collection of 40 moving portraits of moms that questions and searches the challenges of being a mother.
“Ali Smith has given us a gift with Momma Love: a fresh, eye-opening manifestation of motherhood’s contemporary realities,” pioneering feminist Gloria Steinem said.
The book is finally complete, but due to complications with a now-defunct publisher, Smith is attempting to get it on bookstore shelves on her own. Take a look at some of the moving photos below and see if it’s not worth a few of your dollars to invest in a project that sheds an important light on the beautiful, painfully real and challenging mother half of parenting:
Momma Love 1 of 8
How the Mother Half Lives
Moeder 2 of 8
"Mothers are made to feel that if their parenting experience isn't all soft focus moments of bliss and fulfillment, they're doing something wrong," writes Ali Smith.
Madre 3 of 8
"But as any mother may admit in private, motherhood is a really hard job."
Matka 4 of 8
"In the media, mothers tend to be sanctified or vilified. There isn't a lot of honest reflection on the daily motherhood experience as most women are living it."
Matri 5 of 8
"It's a 24-hour-a-day, unpaid job for which mothers receive varying degrees of support from partners, employers, lawmakers and society at large."
Mueter 6 of 8
"Women included [in Momma Love] range from Oscar nominated actress Amy Ryan, who discusses parenting in image and youth obsessed Hollywood, to Diana Colbert, figuring out how to parent her toddler well in the face of her own pending death."
Okaasan 7 of 8
"Momma Love is the forming of a community. It's a call to arms for anyone who is or who loves a mother. And it's the celebration of the potential for the most powerful manifestation of love: Momma Love."
Ahm 8 of 8
To donate to the Momma Love: How the Mother Half Lives Kickstarter campaign and see Smith's book in stores by Mother's Day, click here.
Visit Ali Smith’s Kickstarter website to help contribute to the birth of her other labor of love, and watch a short video here about the project:
Photos and video used with permission from Ali Smith
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