The stories of four women whose children joined the Islamic State.
A postapocalyptic world, motherhood, and centaurs.
"The girls were born the day before the world ended. You had eighteen hours of bliss and then the satellites went out, and with them the systems that sent news around the world. An asteroid, you heard people say. Huddled in your darkened hospital bed, your daughter’s mouths so pink and empty. Like birds. One asteroid and then another, and another, and then so many more that no one could keep track. They pounded into the oceans and the hills. The shaking made the earthquakes come, and from them, the volcanoes. The oceans rose. The clouds that came in the wake of the asteroids were thick and hard, studded with cosmic ash."
“Fuck everything, I thought. Bring on the cascading interventions. And they came.”
An unhappy mother yearns for a return to her creative roots.
"It seemed to her now like motherhood was a constant fall, a never-ending tumble. After she’d finished her nursery fresco and looked for surprise shapes in her sky, Marlee couldn’t find any meaning in the edges and swirls she had created."
A mother and infant interact with neighbors and strangers.
"She looked down at the baby who was still nursing and recognized in him then not the unpolluted possibilities of a life not yet led, but instead a blissful unawareness of himself, or of responsibility, which allowed him a serene acceptance of all that was around him. The baby did not feel hungry for she kept him fed, he did not feel cold for she swaddled him, he did not feel wet for she kept him clean and dry, and when he was startled or unsure, she offered him her nipple, which he held tightly in his mouth before drifting off to sleep, where she imagined he dreamt of her, because she was all that he knew, all that he wanted, endlessly and relentlessly into the future."
Women who left their careers to be stay-at-home mothers reflect on the decision ten years later.
Thirty-one years ago, Joy Hunley’s daughter was adopted. At least that’s what the paperwork says.
Alabama’s chemical-endangerment law was passed to protect kids from meth labs. But is the prosecution of about 60 mothers – and the definition of “child” extended to “unborn child” – pushing its boundaries too far?