Writing the Mother Wound Spring 2020 Online Class with Vanessa Mártir – Announcing New Dates & a Special Pandemic Price Reduction


**New dates & Special Covid-19 Prices**

This class is intended for writers. You do not have to be published, but you do have to have some knowledge of the writing process, what goes into writing, etc.

Class Schedule: 

Week 1: April 27th

Week 2: May 4th (One hour Videoconference, date to be determined)

Week 3: May 11th

Week 4: May 18th

Week 5: May 25th (One hour Videoconference, date to be determined) 

The dates above are the days when the materials (week’s lesson, readings, writing exercises, etc.) will be posted in Wet.Ink, the platform I use to teach my online courses.

Note on Videoconferences: Attendance on the video-conferences is recommended but not required. They will be recorded and shared with participants. Platform: zoom.us


Special Pandemic Tuition: $500 (payment plans and need-based scholarship information below)

Registration: a nonrefundable, nontransferable $75 deposit is required to register. This $75 is deducted from the $500 tuition. The balance of $425 is due by April 19th, the day before the start of class, unless otherwise arranged.  

To register, ask questions, etc., send an email to  writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. 

Class Synopsis:

Week 1: What is the mother wound? What do the experts say?

Week 2: Writing the Mother Wound in Creative Nonfiction

Week 3: Writing the Mother Wound in Poetry

Week 4: Writing the Mother Wound in Fiction 

Week 5: The stakes and the sacrifices  

If you grew up like me, you were taught that mother is the holiest of holy. She is a saint. She is the altar at which you are to sacrifice yourself, again and again and again.

But what about those of us who have had fraught relationships with our mothers? 

What about those of us for whom mother wasn’t encouraging or supportive?

What about those of us for whom mother was (and still is) neglectful and abusive?

Have you wanted to write about your antagonistic relationship with your mother but don’t know how? Have you found it difficult to dig into these memories? Do you not know how to even begin?

Have you dealt with backlash when you dared to talk or write about your relationship with your mother? Were you told: solo hay una madre (there is only one mother), called ungrateful, treasonous, a traitor? Or have you imagined the scenario and been paralyzed by it? Have you internalized this shame?

I created this class for you.

In the Writing the Mother Wound class, we will:

  • define the mother wound, dig into its causes, effects, etc.
  • examine at how writers have written about the mother wound in various genres– fiction, nonfiction, poetry;
  • read essays and poems, novel and memoir excerpts;
  • engage in writing exercises to help you write about your mother wound.

To be clear, this isn’t therapy. I am not a therapist. I cannot heal you. I am a writer who writes a great deal about her own mother wound, and has read obsessively about it in my healing journey. I know firsthand how difficult it is to broach this topic, and have found that reading the work of others who have dared to do so, has helped me write my own. 

That said, this class is intended for people who have experience writing and understand what goes into the process, etc. This class is not intended for first time writers. 

I created this class using everything I’ve learned in my obsessive study of the mother wound. The research I found was focused on white, cisgendered folks in heterosexual relationships. I wondered: How have legacies of slavery, colonialism, immigration, genocide, and racism shaped and exacerbated the mother wound for people of color and indigenous folks? What role does homophobia, etc play? I turned to literature and found answers in stories by writers of color. As a result, this class privileges the work of writers of color. 

The goals of the class are:

  • to read and examine how writers navigate and approach the mother wound through their writing;
  • to use these writings as inspiration to write about our mother wounds;
  • to work on freeing ourselves of the shame we carry over daring to want/need to write about our mothers and our relationships with them in a realistic light;
  • to find community in our work and understand that despite how isolating this journey can be (as writers, as folks who navigate “not ideal” relationships with their mothers), we are not alone in it… 

The story of Writing the Mother Wound: Why did I create the class and start the movement? 

When my beloved brother, Juan Carlos, died in 2013, I reeled into the darkest place of my life. We’re told that when someone dies, the greatest grief is the loss. We aren’t told about the griefs that loss will uncover. For me, that grief was my antagonistic relationship with my mother, whose house I left when I was 13, never to return. My mother, who still punishes me by denying me her love whenever she doesn’t approve of a decision I make about my life, which is often. My mother, who told me when I left an abusive relationship, “Tu no pensaras vivir conmigo.” The thought of moving back in with her hadn’t crossed my mind. Still, it was devastating to learn she wouldn’t take me in; I was a newly single mom of a 1-year-old. That kind of rejection leaves you unanchored in the world. 

It was a longing for an anchor, a foundation, that fed my obsessive research on strained mother-daughter relationships. 

In the journey, I found there is a name for women like me — unmothered — and there is a name for the pain I carry: the mother wound. 

So much of what I encountered in my research resonated. It helped me see my mother as a woman, not just a mother. I saw a woman who had encountered and endured countless obstacles and traumas, and I began to understand that while my mother did the best she could with what she had, it was/is also true that the little girl I was didn’t get what she needed. Neither did the adolescent girl I was or the young woman I was. The woman I am today still carries that cross. 

Still, there were questions that remained unanswered. My mother is a brown, immigrant woman who endured the kind of extreme poverty I only saw in the Save the Children commercials of my childhood. Yes, we were poor, but I never went hungry, and I didn’t watch my little sister succumb to a curable childhood illness like my mother did. How did this shape the young woman my mother was into the mother she became? The research I found was focused on white people who were cisgender and in heterosexual relationships. I wondered: How have legacies of slavery, colonialism, immigration, genocide, and racism shaped and exacerbated the mother wound for people of color and indigenous folks? How does homophobia, transphobia, etc. contribute to these wounds? I turned to literature and found answers in stories by writers of color.  

Ultimately, I was searching for stories that could help me understand my mother and why she couldn’t and still can’t nurture me. I needed to know I wasn’t alone in my suffering and that I could survive being unmothered. I found that I can make something beautiful out of my suffering: I can create spaces like the Writing the Mother Wound movement and establish relationships like the one with Longreads where I can help stories like these get published. 

I can create the Writing the Mother Wound Class where I help writers open up and pen stories about their mother wounds; and where I can share:

  • how it was in literature that I found answers to so many of the questions I had about the antagonistic relationship with my mother.
  • how researching and devouring stories about strained mother-daughter relationships helped me believe that I could write my story too.

I have amassed so much information and knowledge in my journey that I knew (and still know) it is my duty to share what I’ve learned in reading these countless books and poems and essays and short stories and studies.

I know now that I have been working towards creating this class for a long time. It is my honor to bring it to you.  

Financial Aid:

Tuition for the class is $500. There is a $75 nonrefundable registration fee to reserve your seat. The $425 balance is due no later than March 22nd, 2020, unless otherwise arranged. 

Payment plans are available. If one is required, please send an email to writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. Payment plans must be arranged before class begins. Payment plan does not include the registration fee.  

Need-based, partial scholarships are also available:

  1. A scholarship of $100 for a writer who is not traditionally educated. This means the writer may not have nor is pursuing an MFA, and/or does not have a high school diploma and/or an undergraduate degree, and has not published a book with a major publisher.
  2. A scholarship of $100 for a single parent who would otherwise be unable to participate in the class. 
  3. A scholarship of $100 for an unmothered person.
  4. A scholarship of $100 for a writer who does not fit the criteria for any of the other scholarships, but is financially unable to afford the class because they are unemployed, underemployed, etc.

How to apply: Send an email to writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com detailing: 

  1. Which scholarship you’re applying for.
  2. How you are qualified for the scholarship
  3. Explain your financial need–ie. Unemployed, underemployed, etc. 
  4. Why you think you need this class, what you expect to gain from it, and why you think you are deserving of the scholarship beyond financial need.


  1. HI,

    I read your entire email about the mother wound, and the writing. Thank you for also writing about this issue because I believe the more women have permission to write these stories, the more we will change the world, create authentic reflection of people lives, and bust open some myths.

    I recently published a memoir about the mother wound, and the long journey to healing what was possible, and what wasn’t. If you should ever feel like reading my memoir, All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, please tell me your thoughts. I identify as lesbian and non-binary, which also figures deeply into my book, being LGBTQ+ and dealing with the culture as well as the personal.

    It’s also fabulous that the essay writers have a chance to be published.

    I just felt the need to reach out and thank you, and cheer you on. Brava.

    With respect, Jo Vannicola http://www.allweknewbutcouldntsay.com


    • Hello Joanne . Thanks for the message. Yes, this work is hard but so necessary. I’m glad we’re out here writing these stories and dismantling the mother myth. And congrats on your memoir! Amor primero y siempre, Vanessa

  2. I’m really looking forward to your NYC workshop in April. I’m working on a memoir that will benefit greatly from a deep dive into the Mother Wound.

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