In my previous work on Bosnian mothers who are raising children born of war rape, I have argued for the need to depathologise their mothering practices and examine them instead in the context of feminist maternal theory and philosophy. This approach facilitates the investigation of motherhood, maternal love and attachment in ways that honour the lived experiences of the women who are engaged in mothering children born of war, and challenge common perceptions of what constitutes ‘good/bad’ mothering by repositioning those practices within the field of empowered mothering.
In this chapter I build on my earlier perspective by adopting a feminist intersectional lens specifically with the aim of highlighting the experiences, situated knowledge and perspectives of those traditionally perceived as marginalised in conventional social and cultural discourses, in order to draw attention to forms of agency that often remain overlooked. My analysis is focused on such individual identity as it is embodied in the narratives of one such Bosnian mother, ‘Sabina’, and her daughter, a child of war, ‘A.J: Strong Woman’, both of whom I interviewed in the summer of 2017 in the context of a larger study dealing with transgenerational trauma and resilience. Their narratives situate the uniqueness of their specific experience of mothering and maternal love from the mother’s and the daughter’s perspective, thereby producing embodied knowledge that serves to contextualise not only subject formation, oppression and discrimination as they have and continue to encounter it, but also forms of resistance and agency through which they shape their own relationship. I argue that this knowledge foregrounds ‘a richer ontology’ (Phoenix & Pattynama, 2006, p. 187; Kaur Dhamoon, 2011) of mother love that pushes against and redefines the hegemonic, epistemological and conceptual boundaries of normative discourses on motherhood and the maternal.