How Motherhood Affects Creativity


Her labor begins, and she leans back on her bottom, pulling the first baby out of her body with her own hands and teeth. Within five minutes, another newborn arrives. Soon, her babies are squirming around her, squealing and desperate to suckle.

Although the mother rat has never given birth before this, she is now responsible for a dozen lives—so she hits the ground running, instinct as her compass, biology as her map. She has already stockpiled the materials for a warm nest. She uses what she can find. Strands of hair, dried grass, twigs, paper towels, furniture foam.

Her brain is closer to a human mother’s brain than that of a mouse or a dog. It has the same neurochemicals as a human’s. Her cortex is more like a person’s than it is different. She has a hippocampus, an amygdala, and the structure of her brain cells also resembles human cells, with their neurons and glia. During pregnancy, her neurological circuitry already started reprogramming itself. As a new mother, she will choose her babies over , Cosmopolitan, and The New York Times. With a single social-media post, Koh had become fodder for another round of debates over whether motherhood curtails careers, ambitions, and creativity.

She received hundreds of comments like “Get it girl!” and “You are my hero,” along with breathless headlines: “This artist proves that motherhood is not the death of creative life.”

But it also drew backlash: “Poor babies! Poor mother!” wrote a commenter. “You are missing out on the wonderful intimate moment.” A Scary Mommy blog post asked if Koh was setting up impossible standards for the rest of us: “Moms that can still function, with newborns, and kick ass at work are superhuman,” wrote Maria Guido. “But do we want to be superhuman?”

Koh was already known for her art: a gigantic sculpture of a vagina made from porcupine quills, burnt canvas, and polyfill. An acrylic design of a man’s oversized blue balls made from pantyhose and rocks. “Every decision you make as an artist is both conceptual and psychological, even if you don’t completely understand what you are doing,” she told ArtFile Magazine, before she had twins. “I think it’s okay to not completely understand and maybe eventually you will figure it out.”

Koh told me that in her 20s, she did not consider herself particularly maternal. She was wary of how …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Science

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