The experience of motherhood during the war: de¬scriptive phenomenological analysis
Keywords:body, motherhood, war, descriptive phenomenology, home, everydayness, everyday experience
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.
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