About Helen Sargeant

I am a visual artist, mother of two children aged 12 and 4, and co-founder of the MeWe arts collective. I intend to use this site to explore how my personal experiences as a mother informs my arts practice. To reflect upon the maternal in relationship to memory, loss, and mental health in particu…Read more

Website: http://helensargeant.co.uk

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2 Responses to “Mummyfication”

  1. Frances Earnshaw

    His words are so perfect… “Now we’re stuck together, arn’t we?”

    Your phrase “I am the Birthday present”… sets off a whole Sylvia Plath train of thought.

  2. Helen Sargeant

    I thought it was fascinating because we are stuck together, forever bound to our children, always mother’s. There is no escape from this role, only in death. I love Sylvia Plaths poetry. Her words are so perfect they speak so clearly about the experiences of being a mother, of being depressed.

    She is so present here, in this fictitious maternal space and in this place we live, her bones lying in the grave yard up in Heptonstall, her flesh a part of the earth of this valley. Her body her voice herself is here.

    I’ve dug out my copy of Ariel, and re-read the emotionally haunting “A Birthday Present”, this passage is from the last four lines of the poem.

    There would be a nobility then, there would be a birthday.
    And the knife not carve, but enter

    Pure and clean as the cry of a baby,
    And the universe slide from my side.

    Sylvia Plath, The Birthday Present, Ariel, first published in 1965 by Faber and Faber Ltd

    The poem doubles as a suicide note. Written in early October of 1962, three weeks before her thirtieth birthday and four months before her suicide. She died on the 11th February 1963.


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