Mum's not the word

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Mum's not the word will be published in May 2019. Pre-order now and get FREE postage.
  • This important and poignant book of photo essays by Denise Felkin brings some much-needed humanity to bear on the harsh judgements that our pronatalist society holds about women who don’t have children. Each naked portrait is tender, vulnerable and raw, and the accompanying participant commentary is by turns shocking, illuminating, refreshing and heartbreaking. These women are literally laid bare, and this somehow gives them a greater right for their truths to be heard. Whether the women are childless due to infant loss, through motherhood ambivalence leading to a happy (or regretful) life without children, failed infertility treatments, clear-sighted self-awareness, unchosen singleness or other complex factors, they lie here and challenge us to appreciate for a moment what life might be like in their skin. Often those who’ve chosen non-motherhood – the childfree – are placed in one box, and those for whom this wasn’t what they’d hoped (the childless) in another; yet this courageous and sympathetic book lays them side-by-side, and in doing so, reveals the lived complexity and ambiguity of being a non-mother in our motherhood-obsessed world.

    Jody Day
    Author, Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children, and founder of Gateway Women Productions
  • Denise Felkin's "Mum's Not The Word" is an engaging and thought-provoking body of work. The artist clearly demonstrates how photography can be used to create debate and the World Photography Organisation is proud to have recognised Felkin at the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards.

    Scott Gray
  • Denise Felkin is a wonderful photographer and documentary artist.

    It’s not easy to utilise conceptual photography effectively for any subject, let alone to try and communicate the thoughts and feelings of women without children, and the negativity they face in today’s society. But Denise Felkin has done this beautifully with this remarkable series of photographs and words.

    I am truly moved by this work, and thankful to Denise and the women in this book. I learned a lot.

    Tony Bell
    The Observer
  • As a filmmaker on the same subject, what I enjoy most about Denise’s book is the vulnerability of the images. The raw honesty of women owning up at times to their struggles as well as their dreams, and the opportunities afforded to them by not having kids, is powerful. I have found in my work, and now in Denise’s, that people are incredibly moved by the visual. Bravo, Denise: you have produced a body of work that will support many women.

    Maxine Trump
    Director, To Kid Or Not To Kid the movie
  • Denise confronts our possible preconceptions and elegantly reveals the complexities of procreation, dispelling the notion that bearing children is an absolute. The accompanying quotes, by the women pictured, inform us of the infinite expanse of conditions that we might not have considered.

    Mum's Not The Word is a deep, thought-provoking. meaningful and concerned documentary.

    Ben Edwards
  • As a childfree-by-choice woman I think the book is an excellent way to share the stories and raise awareness of women who choose to be childfree or are childfree by circumstance. Society places a lot of expectation on women to have children, and you can feel as though you are the only woman who doesn’t want them. I think this book is necessary for women to hear the stories of those who are childfree, and equally important for men to do so, too. I love Denise’s choice to have the women in a foetal position, too.

    Caley Powell
    Producer, Lights Down Productions

Challenges the motherhood myth

Mum's not the word is a photobook about women without children. The nude images challenge the negative attitudes within society towards women without children, and the text shares stories of birth control, choice, freedom, regret, and pain. Women are expected to provide reasons for not having children, and yet deciding to have them does not require justification. Mum's not the word debates the social stigmatisation of women, who, by choice, circumstance or whatever reason, go against the instinct for childbirth and maternal productivity.

50 colour images show real women in the foetal position. The subjects come from all walks of life — professionals, artists; a few have mental health issues or disabilities; some have fragile relationships with their birth mothers. A couple of the participants also identify as other than heterosexual.
  • Nude images representing contemporary issues
  • Challenges the motherhood myth: women do not have to be walking wombs
  • Female art, women taking control, all-female project with real body shapes and sizes
  • It's not simply a case of all women don't want or can't have children
  • Statistics show that an increasing number of women remain childless, currently around 20% in the UK
  • No other book visually represents this aspect of motherhood
  • Challenges negative stereotypes: women without children are not selfish, half-women, spinsters, crazy cat ladies or barren
  • Tackles women's issues about infertility, family planning and birth control
  • Deals with environmental issues and sustainability; offers a solution to global issues of over-population in the modern age
  • Award-winning photography: finalist Sony World Photography Awards 2016, National Open Art 2017, Honorable Mention Julia Margaret Cameron: Women Seen by Women 2018

Mum's not the word

Childless Childfree

Denise Felkin

Format: Hardback, 298mm x 198mm, 112 pages, 50 colour photos
ISBN: 978-1-787113-70-1 UPC: 6-36847-01370-7

£19.99 UK • $25.99 USA • $33.99 CAN

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