Dorothee Marx - "Don’t worry. It’s just the baby blues": Representations of new motherhood in contemporary graphic memoirs
02/07/2020 11:00 Room 2 #doncgi
All bodies are governed by principles of temporality, yet regarding their roles as (potential) mothers, female bodies are kept under particularly strict observation (Smith 2018). I argue that comics’ power to offer “a more inclusive perspective of medicine” (Czerwiec et al. 2015: 2) can be made fruitful to interrogate the implicit temporal regimes that govern the postnatal period. Analyzing Teresa Wong’s Dear Scarlet (2019) and Lucy Knisley’s Kid Gloves (2019), I examine how Knisley’s struggles with pre-eclampsia and Wong’s postnatal depression turn their time as new mothers into a period of “crip time” (Samuels 2017) that differs from the positive image of a blissful postnatal period perpetuated by contemporary discourses. I suggest that the medium of comics is particularly suited to illustrate these shifts in their subjective time experience. My paper explores how Knisley’s and Wong’s graphic narratives create alternative representations of the corporeal experience of the postpartum period, providing a social commentary on the discursive constraints of motherhood.