Review of Lori Tiron-Pandit, “Picture Perfect”, in Myths, Monsters, and Mutations, edited by Jessica Augustsson (JayHenge Publications, 2017): 227-236. — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
Do you sometimes feel like motherhood is just a huge trap? Like you might have made a mistake, but now there is no going back? And you’re locked into this life with a child, and as much as you’d like to escape, you’re just stuck, and there’s no more hope? (227)
This was a scary, scary story, not because it exhibits any of the “scary-story” elements of classic horror, but because it tackles head-on a scary, scary topic, one which is both ordinarily quite taboo but also commonplace in the lives of many women: motherhood regret. Whether it comes in the haze of post-partum depression, or whether it is a one-off thought “Maybe my life would’ve been better if my child(ren) had never been born”, it happens, it’s real, and no one is willing to talk about it. This is where the power of stories come in — it allows us to explore the “what if” without the consequences, to work through how things might have been, both if things had gone worse than they actually did and if they had gone better.
I have a delightful child whom I love very much, who has always been a good sleeper and a good eater, and who was long-awaited, but so many aspects of Larisa’s experiences, and the experiences of the women in her online mothers community, ring true. It’s a glimpse of how things might have gone, but (in my case at least) didn’t, and it’s a scary, scary glimpse.
Goblins and ghosts, zombies and vampires, serial murderers in the dark — none of these scare me. This story did.