With Mother/With Child: A True Story

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This story describes an evening of interaction with the author’s aging mother as the author assists her in her nightly routine of preparing for bed. The surrounding frame describes the author’s reading of this intimate story to her mother. The author comments on the tension between independence and dependence that occurs as she tries to help her mother without taking away control, and her mother seeks to be helped without relinquishing control. The author reveals her hesitancy and fear in reading this story to her mother. This hesitancy leads into the last frame, which probes the general methodological issue of the ethics of writing about intimate others. Taking into account her mother’s perspective and those of her academic audience, the author discusses how she resolved the ethical issue of how much to tell to and about her mother by living through this experience with her, writing about their relationship, and examining her own feelings in the context of the story.

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Qualitative Inquiry, v. 7, issue 5, p. 598-616