June 21, 2022


Madeline Docherty

Personal essayMothering, 2022

The creative non-fiction piece, ‘Mothering’ is a personal and intimate account of nannying, the pressure and fetishization of motherhood, reproductive illness and its (so-called) treatment. The speaker ruminates on their relationship with motherhood, gender and illness whilst working as a nanny to a small child for two years. The child functions as a kind of living metaphor for the speakers developing awareness of their condition and the future decisions that await them. Alongside this, the piece details the experience of treatment for a reproductive illness, and the experience of gender dysphasia in the face of ‘female illness’. Finally, ‘Mothering’ operates as a wider comment on nannying as a career; the strangeness of loving a child that has no relation to you, and the transactional nature of that love.