I went to see the dazzling Kate Fleetwood as Medea last week – a play I haven’t read or seen, but, like many of us, know at least of its tragic ending. I can understand why Rachel Cusk was drawn to adapting it to contemporary North London privileged life, as it draws upon themes she has been achingly honest about in her writing. I haven’t read her controversial memoir A Life’s Work either, but I know enough about it to applaud her nonetheless for making public a taboo – that of finding motherhood seriously tough. She also writes about the pain of a messy divorce.
As a therapist I know of the value of speaking about our difficult and perhaps unpopular or even shocking truths. We can feel a range of things at the same time, and love and hate often nestle closely together. I don’t find mothers tussling with or even loathing motherhood shocking at all, even if it was a state long desired for.
Cusk isn’t alone in writing very publicly about her struggles, but some prefer the safety of a confidential space in therapy to do so.