Creativity & Motherhood: The Divided Heart

Do women still confront the attitude that they have to choose between following their creative dreams and having children? In Motherhood & Creativity, some of Australia’s most respected actors, writers, artists and musicians speak frankly about the wrench between motherhood and their creative lives.

In these compelling, honest and insightful conversations, 22 women open up about the various challenges and pleasures they’ve faced when combining motherhood with an undiminished passion for their creative work.

Includes interviews with:

• Claudia Karvan (actor)
• Cate Kennedy (writer)
• Holly Throsby (singer-songwriter)
• Del Kathryn Barton (artist)
• Clare Bowditch (singer)
• Rachel Griffiths (actor)

“I have learnt that no-one else is going to give you the permission to pursue your passions. As a woman, you have to give that permission to yourself. That might mean circumventing the conditioning that tells women to put the needs of everyone else before their own. The kids will benefit more from having a happy, fulfilled mother who is occasionally a bit distracted than an utterly devoted one who is deeply frustrated.

That said, I also think I’ve become more realistic about what you can expect of yourself as a mother, and that if the creative work has to take a backseat for a time – “because someone’s sick, or paid work takes over, or the kids just need you more – “then that doesn’t spell the death knell for your art,” said author Rachel Power.


‘Art demands what a mother’s life does not easily permit: a concentration of self, the autonomy to make use of the artistic impulse when it arrives, and the momentum of pursuing that idea without the constant threat of interruption.’ – Rachel Power, Motherhood & Creativity: The Divided Heart


Australian Ceramic Artist Shannon Garson wrote: “All of these women speak about issues I grapple with every day … feeling guilty about dividing your time with your children and art, trying to adjust to loss of self, the joy and gifts of mothering. The constant pull of the creative away from your children into your art, the fear of being left behind in the harsh, reality of the art world. The frustration that mothering, the most important job you could ever do, is not recognised. This is essential reading for artist mothers. I feel really strongly about this issue”.


Creativity & Motherhood: The Divided Heart

Discover the book here.

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