Welcome to Literary Mama Rewind! Every few weeks we’ll round up some of our favorite essays, stories, poems, columns, and reviews from the Literary Mama archives relating to a particular theme. Some are affected by small sniffles, others by scary diseases, but each of us at some point falls ill. Whether mothering a sick child, or mothering when sick themselves, the mama’s in these pieces write with honesty and clarity about a wild range of illnesses they have faced in their lives.
- Team Mercer by Amy Mercer from the Column Chronic Mama
For 25 years I avoided diabetes support groups. When I was a kid I refused to go to any kind of diabetes camp because I didn’t want anyone to see me prick my finger, to smell the alcohol swipe as I wiped my thigh before piercing it with a syringe, to see the red drop of blood.
- When Mothers Talk by Katherine J. Barrett from the Column Mother City Mama
I’ve heard many South Africans say that they’re tired of news on HIV/AIDS, tired of hearing their beautiful, diverse country equated with disease and tragedy. I agree. On the other hand, I cannot live in South Africa, write about South Africa, and not acknowledge HIV, for it continues to shape this society.
- What More, I say, What More? by Jennifer Massoni Pardini in Creative Nonfiction
We consulted specialists about Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a severe congenital heart malformation where both the aorta and left ventricle are too underdeveloped to sustain life, and holes in the artery and septum do not grow or close as they should. There is no known cause and no true repair.
- Landscape by Lisa Roth-Gulvin in Creative Nonfiction
A young doctor with a benign bedside manner punctures my right breast. I lie naked from the waist up on a table, covered in paper that crinkles when I move.
- Children, Illness and the Blessing of Language: A Review of House and Fire by Julie Swarstad Johnson in Reviews
In Maria Hummel’s debut poetry collection, House and Fire, we inhabit a mother’s world as she cares for a chronically ill child, a timeless space where past, present, and future blur together beneath longing for health.
- Children’s Hospital, 2011 by Leigh Anne Hornfeldt in Poetry
On the fifth sleepless night
I scavenged drawers of bedside
table hoping for a dog-eared magazine
- Pillow Talk by Julie Meyer Taylor in Poetry
His cheeks are pink and healthy
and I can almost convince myself
that it was just a dream.
- An Interview with Bonnie J. Rough by Kate Hopper in Profiles
Rough, a Seattle native, is a carrier of the genetic disorder hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED), which her brother has and her grandfather had. Her memoir delves into the past, into the lives of her mother and grandfather, and propels us into the future, into the possibility of her own children having this disorder.