In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12th, I turn this week’s post to novelist Janet Benton, author of Lilli de Jong, a work of historical fiction I recommend.

I ran an interview with Janet for my series upholding women who carve brave paths that light the way for other women: Women on a Quest.

But first, I dedicate this post to all of the mothers out there  (biological and otherwise) who feel the energy of caring in their bones.  Here is the excerpt from the preface of Lilli de Jong.

This work of fiction began in the long days and nights of nursing and nurturing my baby. As I held her in my arms and listened to the ticking of a clock, a voice came now and then into my mind. It was the voice of an unwed mother from long ago.

Sometimes she railed against being cast out, with her life derailed for good, while her lover walked freely among respected persons. Sometimes my own moments merged with hers, as when I marveled at the calm that descended while nursing or felt a fatigue I could never before have imagined. After placing my sleeping infant down, I walked to my desk and jotted those words onto scraps of paper.

While pregnant, I was inclined to study. I followed the stages of a growing human. I looked into practices of labor and delivery and armed myself with all manner of ideas and stuff. I considered these acts to be preparatory, even protective. Yet for my own specific labor, and for the actuality of caring for the infant who emerged, I was utterly unprepared.So perhaps this was when the door to Lilli’s story opened: when I was stunned at being the basis of a newborn’s survival and awed by how my body and heart changed in service of her. Becoming a mother was no small shift in identity. I would never see any aspect of living in the same way again.

Oh and be sure to read about Janet’s journey and check out her theme song for her quest to uphold long forgotten mothers.