I follow an Instagram account called “Mothers Before.” It was started by author Eden Lepucki as a way to promote her novel, “Woman No. 17”, a story revolving around motherhood and daughterhood. Ms. Lepucki solicits old photos of mothers with accompanying captions written by daughters. Here is the caption for the photo above:
“My mother, taken by my father, before they were married, before kids, before my father’s struggles with depression and his eventual suicide. She’s a worrier, but also somehow remains the most unrelentingly positive of people: she always believes there’s a path through this, whatever “this” may be, however hard it is for you yourself to believe in.” —Kristi, about her mother, Cheryl.
All these photos date from a time when cameras needed to be toted along in a special bag, then loaded with film, which was carefully advanced after each click of the shutter, then rewound and placed in a canister, then sent off for developing. It seems so impossibly quaint, just as the photos here are. But read the captions and the nostalgia emanating off the images is leavened with real life details like single motherhood, unexpected pregnancy, delayed or cancelled dreams, cancer.
Enjoy these women captured in that very short moment between the innocence of childhood and the burden of adulthood. Do you recognize your mom? Do you see yourself?
Ms. Lepucki’s Instagram account has become so popular that she is turning it into a book to be released later this year. At this time, submissions are closed.