Author Amina Cain on Desiring More Stories About the 'Ambivalence of Motherhood'

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Amina Cain is an author based in Los Angeles. (Photo of Amina Cain by Polly Antonia Barrowman)

In the film “The Lost Daughter” directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, actor Olivia Colman plays Leda, a middle-aged college professor who encounters a young mother and her daughter while on vacation, prompting memories from Leda’s past, when she left her husband and two young daughters for three years. This story, adapted from Elena Ferrante’s 2006 novel of the same name, conjured feelings of relief for Los Angeles-based author Amina Cain – not because the main character once abandoned her children, but because a different kind of story about motherhood was being told. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Cain, who has never wanted children, writes: “It’s rare to see a film or read a novel that depicts ambivalence around motherhood, even rarer one that rejects that life completely, which I deeply appreciate about ‘The Lost Daughter.’ I’m hungry for these stories.” We talk to Cain about why ambivalence towards motherhood still feels socially taboo.


Amina Cain, author, Los Angeles Times op-ed "I'm hungry for more stories on the ambivalence of motherhood"; "Indelicacy," a novel