The experience of motherhood during the war: de¬scriptive phenomenological analysis

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.31874/2309-1606-2022-28-2-14

Keywords:

body, motherhood, war, descriptive phenomenology, home, everydayness, everyday experience

Abstract

The article analyzes the individual experience of the first ten months of moth­erhood before and during the full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine using the method of descriptive phenomenology of the body. Corporeality is considered as a basis for a possible description of the motherhood experience. In the analysis, I apply the ideas of Luce Irigaray (deconstruction of the complex image of mother­hood in art, science and philosophy) and Yulia Kristeva (analysis of the Western Christian tradition of depicting a mother with a baby and the narratives embed­ded in it) in the context of returning the discourse about motherhood to women. Based on the ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Iris Young, I turn to a phenom­enological analysis of the body, namely, the female body, as the “first locus of in­tentionality.” In particular, it is about experiencing drastic bodily changes during childbirth and the first weeks of motherhood, the blurring of bodily boundaries between the nursing mother and the baby, the establishment of a common every­day life through the establishment of new repetitive rituals, its cancellation due to the need to flee and the attempt to restore it in a new place. In this regard, I provide the phenomenological interpretation of the home as a space of experiencing security, individuation, privacy and storage (Young) and its loss. I have singled out the processes of sleep and eating as the two main bodily manifestations of anxiety in everyday experience. A key element of the physical maternal experience is breast-feeding, which provides a suitable range of feelings: from pain and sacrifice to comfort and euphoria from union with the child. It was revealed that the specificity of the female body and its adaptation to new requirements within motherhood (in particular, additional weight, softness, endurance, inertness, etc.) made it possible to adapt to new critical circumstances associated with the beginning of a full-scale war, deprivation of a home, experiencing a threat and oppression.

Author Biography

Yevheniia Butsykina, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Ethics, Aesthetics and Cultural Studies.  Field of scientific interests: everyday aesthetics, cultural studies of design, aesthetic ideas of George Bataille, philosophy of laughter

References

Butsykina, Y. (2022). Motherhood in War, Bodily Experience. SONIAKH digest. Retrieved from: https://soniakh.com/index.php/2022/10/10/motherhood-in-war-bodily-exp erience/?fbclid=IwAR2Wv8jhKLZqONM-hlookvIHGbOSEnHxnzKcUGA8S6SKt3DEub baOkt3mzY

Grosz, E. (2020). Volatile bodies: Toward a corporeal feminism. Routledge.

Kristeva, J. (1980). Motherhood According to Giovanni Bellini. Columbia University Press.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). The Phenomenology of Perception. Translated by Colin Smith. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Miller, T. (2005). Making sense of motherhood: a narrative approach. Cambridge University Press.

Rich, A. (1977). Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. New York: Bantam. (Cited from: Rubin Suleiman, S. (2011). Writing and Motherhood. The (M) other Tongue. Essays in Feminist Psychoanalytic Interprétation.)

Whitford, M. (2014). Luce Irigaray: Philosophy in the feminine. Routledge.

Young, I. M. (2005a). Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comport¬ment, Motility, and Spatiality. In: Young, I. M. On female body experience:” Throwing like a girl” and other essays. Oxford University Press. P. 27–45.

Young, I. M. (2005b). Pregnant Embodiment: Subjectivity and Alienation. In: Young, I. M. On female body experience:” Throwing like a girl” and other essays. Oxford University Press. P. 46–61.

Young, I. M. (2005c). House and Home: Feminist Variations on a Theme. In: Young, I. M. On female body experience:” Throwing like a girl” and other essays. Oxford University Press. Pp. 123–154.

Young, I. M. (2005d). Breasted Experience: The Look and the Feeling. In: Young, I. M. On fe¬male body experience:” Throwing like a girl” and other essays. Oxford University Press. P. 75–96.

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Published

2023-02-08

How to Cite

Butsykina, Y. (2023). The experience of motherhood during the war: de¬scriptive phenomenological analysis. Filosofiya Osvity. Philosophy of Education, 28(2), 240–249. https://doi.org/10.31874/2309-1606-2022-28-2-14

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