Chloё Marsden


Chloё Marsden


Chloё Marsden



New Zealand

Artist Statement

My journey to become a mother started many years before I gave birth to my son. Years of fertility problems gave me a lot of time to reflect upon the implications both physically and emotionally, of becoming a mother. However, nothing would prepare me for the confusing mix of emotions I felt when my son finally arrived. I constantly felt split, in two minds about everything. The strong urge to protect accompanied by fear of the tremendous responsibility. I was confused by the power and powerlessness of my new role. I was no longer just my-self any more. I experienced deep love but also craved physical space. Memories of my own childhood, a severe lack of sleep and unrealistic expectations distorted my sense of reality. My current work focuses on my own identity transformation of becoming a mother and the often conflicting, all-consuming feelings experienced in motherhood. These contradictory emotions are described as maternal ambivalence. I believe a mother needs to know herself, to own up to the diverse, conflicting, overwhelming feelings brought up by motherhood. Whether she stays at home, goes out to work, is partnered or single. A mother who can face her own inner turmoil can in turn make sense of her child. If a mother can be herself with a child, and honestly express joy, anger, love, contentment - a full range of emotions - that will help the child to know themselves. By fully recognizing this early experience mothers -to- be could be made more aware they are entering a confusing and disorienting time. They could be better emotionally equipped to ride the experience of maternal ambivalence.



Chloë Marsden, “Chloё Marsden,” Artist Parent Index , accessed May 23, 2024,

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