Why are the best stories about motherhood told in whispers?
We invite self-identifying mothers to share real stories and reflections under the protective cover of anonymity.
What is "self-Identified"?
Foster mothers, step mothers, paid caregiver mothers, unpaid care giving mothers, gay mothers, single mothers, white mothers, brown mothers, divorced mothers, refuge mothers, global crisis aide mothers, mourning mothers, new mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers, artist mothers, those who are mothers to themselves while navigating their reproductive choices or lack there of-- and any self-identifying mother who is seeking a safe space to share their stories, collaborate, and connect.
What We Do
The Momologue Collective is a social art practice, created by multidisciplinary artist Brianna Allen. The on-going project collects short stories about motherhood and shares them anonymously online. Through group storytelling, community is built through vulnerability and trust, which make way for deep connections and further creative collaborations that remark the culture of American mothering.
I came from a rural town in central Maine- one of paper mills and chicken farms. We had one black person in my class. There’s no doubt they faced racism, I remember one lunch lady doling out his lunch as I stood behind him in line, “well you’re going to make a fine military boy!” she told him. It was clear to me, in 4th grade, what she meant by that. He puffed out his chest, smirked to the side and lifted a eyebrow as he walked off silently. Maine is a hard place to escape it.
Today, I live in Homer, Alaska, a town similar in size, and in demographics. I’ve been here now for 15 years, so my “networks” as they are now, are still mostly white, straight and cis-gendered. The Momologues Collective is a project in progress. It’s defined by the people who identify themselves as a mother. The choice of how one identifies is up to you- and yes, that language and understanding has certainly been part of the project’s evolution. I'm proud of it.
I’ll also add some of the most profound reflections come from non-birthing mothers particularly, who have been contributors of the project. The diversity among the contributors of the project has been my biggest teacher in recognizing how uniting the act of mothering can be.
So what's the point?
I definitively do not offer advice, or a conventional “call to action.” Frankly, the idea of offering advice makes my skin crawl and would immediately turn me off as a participant. It’s not the point here. Advice, therapies, clinical support are just not my skill sets. Art-making is a skill set of mine. Collaboration is also in my skill set. And, the art-making and collaboration is the point of it all. It is what I’m doing about it. It might not be conventional to all, but to me it feels worthy, and helpful. I don’t insist it is for everyone.
My art practice, which is all the project started out to be, helps me process my own experience. It helps others who opt-in, looking for someone to listen. It also has helped non-identifying mothers. I can at least speak for some men— who I believe are the true core victims of this patriarchal corporate culture we have all been convinced is the American Dream. That might be an unpopular statement at face value, but I stand by it.
Besides, don’t we need a multi-pronged approach? Don’t we need each other to lean into our own skill sets, and do the best we can with what we have? The answer for me is yes.
The kindess of exclusion
The Momologue Collective is not meant to be home for everybody- It’s meant to be a safe place for self-identifying mothers to share their story among an artistic community exploring the complexities of motherhood. Every story shared is self-reflective of one’s own mothering experience. It’s not a place to blame or shame those already in the room. The welcome mat is there for those who arrive with trust and an offering to connect.
One contributor offered me “The Art of Gathering” by Priya Parker. Parker writes how it’s only when we are our central to our purpose, that the right people will arrive, and the most meaningful connections will establish. I believe this. She also says “...in trying not to offend, you fail to protect the gathering itself...” and “In the name of inclusion and generosity…we fail to draw boundaries about who belongs and why.” In summary: It’s easy in include. It’s harder to exclude, but it is essential for true purpose.
"I received this book as a gift...and it was like a lifeline. I'm in the beautiful, chaotic, messy, thick-of-it life with a three year old and a six month old, working full time and with no family or close friends near by. I have an amazing partner but I miss the support and understanding of other women and I didn't realize how badly I needed to see the experiences reflected back to me."
A Note from Brianna
Creator & Collector
I am a multidisciplinary artist creating visual work informed by my social art practice archived at The Momologue Collective. This on-going project is a platform for anonymous stories (momologues) contributed by self-identifying mothers, to be shared among a creative community exploring the complexities of motherhood.
I aim to challenge the normative motherhood narrative, honor labors of care, and foster a supportive society through listening. By elevating the quieter stories, and offering protection of anonymity, my work fosters connection, validates vulnerability, and empowers the storyteller. As a result, these gifts, which are built on trust compel empathy and deeper listening among whomever they are shared with.