On Anna Prushinskaya’s ‘A Woman Is a Woman until She Is a Mother’

Surmayi Khatana
Nov 15, 2017 · 3 min read

Anna Prushinskaya
Essays | Non-Fiction
113 Pages
5” x 8”
Perfectbound Trade Paperback
Review Format: Digital PDF ARC
ISBN 978–1–944850–06–7
First Edition
MG Press
Des Plaines, Illinois
Available HERE

Anna Prushinskaya takes the reader on a walk along with her where one crunches dried leaves with her and sees her grandmothers’ pictures. She has a serene softness in her words, drawing parallels between the sights we see and the thoughts we think. Written in a series of essays, the collection and writer guides the reader through the journey of pregnancy all the way to the destination of childbirth, analyzing the thoughts conceived along with the baby and the new lens of perspectives brought with it. The uniqueness of motherhood is brought out magnificently in words that make the reader feel the sensations felt by the author.

Does it help to know this was written while I was pregnant?

Written with beautiful comparisons, the book is a mirror to the real world realized through the portal that is a woman. The book talks about the experience of pregnancy, the challenge of childbirth and of raising the child, all the while realizing the change in identity and the self image one possesses. It tackles the switch of identity from being a woman, to an expectant mother and finally, a mother. Each essay explores a different line of thought. The author quotes activists and women authors, stating their accounts of the world, and provides her own experiences and feelings regarding the same, laying stress on the power of a woman’s story.

My grandmothers are abstractions; they are amulets.
I secret them away to help me across the frontier.
I imagine photos of them in a well-worn locket.
The Way you’d carry myths or symbols. They are power and Woman, but they are also flesh and blood and errors.

(“Calling my Grandmothers, Calling the Frontier”)

This quote is from the essay that reminiscences the author’s Soviet origin and her thoughts of bearing motherhood in the USA. The book talks of the composition of humans as flesh, blood, errors, and part random things and families. The author talks of both her grandmothers and the different manners in which they bore children, as compared with her. The author writes about the nature of language: the age and stage of perfecting one and the thoughts incurred in one.

The book is an intriguing compilation of a woman’s flight through child bearing. It contemplates care and pain with an inquisitive air to it, and is an insightful and thought-provoking, curious book with a dash of freshness. Written with a poetic yet systematic style and illustrated with aesthetically pleasing photographs, Anna Prushinskaya has explored our world with a different shade. From woody plants to parents’ screen time, the author has put together, marvelously, a strong book.

The Coil

Literature to change your lightbulb.

Surmayi Khatana

Written by

A writer trying to pen down words made out of ink from sunset colours. An author with a short story book to her name and a blog.

The Coil

The Coil

Literature to change your lightbulb.