Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mother Stories Are Their Stories, Too.

I just started a perfectly innocuous post, but deleted the draft immediately. My head filled with the blogger worries I know trouble so many parenting writers. It's not necessarily the safety issues that are weighing on me, although these are of concern, but I'm thinking of respect and self-determination and privacy. As the Bird grows, what will she feel about my writing about her life as if those stories are my own? Will it devalue her experiences for her if I share them so publicly? I've always written- first in notebooks and now online- that writing is my only way to process my experiences. It makes them more real, more valuable, more deeply mine to frame them in words, to craft exactly the language that reflects my experience of the memory. In doing that with Molly's babyhood, I'm documenting for her as much as I am reaching out desperately to other moms for support and community. As she grows, though, and is capable of making her own story-memories, what is the impact of my simultaneously broadcasting these stories? At what age is it appropriate and necessary to ask her permission and blessing to write about her?

I was pining for BlogHer this year more than the last two years since I'd first heard of the conference. I'm tackling blogging issues in a few different ways, and I'd love to meld minds with other writers in this still-strange new world. The conference this year featured a panel called Public Parenting and Privacy. (Links to good notes from an attendee's blog.)

It looks like some interesting topics were raised and debated, but I don't know if the philosophical nature of my worries came up. I haven't really seen this addressed in mothering or fathering blogs. It's probably an issue I'll revisit in the near future as I work through this.


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