De Marneffe, Daphne 1959-
de MARNEFFE, Daphne 1959-
PERSONAL: Born 1959, in Boston, MA; married Terry Becker (a psychiatrist), 1991; children: Sophie, Alex, Nicholas. Education: Graduate of Harvard College (psychology, social relations); University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1992.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Little, Brown & Co., Time Warner Book Group, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
CAREER: Therapist, CA, 1994—; licensed clinical psychologist, CA, 1996.
Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the InnerLife, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Clinical psychologist Daphne de Marneffe chose to cut back on her professional life when her third child was born and then wrote a book about her decision and her views on the issue of working versus being a stay-at-home mother. Booklist writer Vanessa Bush called Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life "a stirring book that celebrates women's love for their children and mothering while also supporting their interest in careers and other pursuits." In the book, de Marneffe, who is a feminist, advocates the acknowledgment that mothering is fulfilling and joyous. "An honest, unsentimental exploration of maternal desire can actually enhance the feminist project by enabling us to understand the full complexity of 'what women want,'" noted Ann Crittenden in American Prospect. De Marneffe studies the roles of other caregivers, including fathers, and the problems that sometimes accompany full-time parenting. Patricia Cohen wrote in the New York Times that "this well-researched book contains flashes of insight and expressions of deep sympathy, as when Ms. de Marneffe notes that our values inevitably determine what we consider to be needs. She captures the exquisite conflicts that weigh on women, and despite occasional lapses into self-helpese, she writes movingly of the transfiguring effect of motherhood."
In an interview for the San Francisco Chronicle, de Marneffe was asked by Anastasia Hendrix how she felt when the issue of her ability, as an affluent mother, to choose to stay home is raised. De Marneffe replied, "I get bothered when the 'privilege card' gets played. One article said: 'Why should we care what these people feel?' My basic feeling is, if we don't care about what we feel, how are we ever going to care about what the person who works five jobs feels? This devaluation of caring for kids operates across the board. If we as privileged people dismiss it, how are we going to have the empathy and political will to care about the people on the bottom of the heap? People who write books are privileged—period, no matter what the content is."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Prospect, June, 2004, Ann Crittenden, review of Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life, p. 52.
Booklist, February 1, 2004, Vanessa Bush, review of Maternal Desire, p. 937.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2004, review of MaternalDesire, p. 21.
Library Journal, February 1, 2004, Cathy Carpenter, review of Maternal Desire, p. 112.
New York Times, March 24, 2004, Patricia Cohen, review of Maternal Desire, p. E7.
Publishers Weekly, January 12, 2004, review of Maternal Desire, p. 46.
San Francisco Chronicle, May 9, 2004, Anastasia Hendrix, "Free to Be a Stay-Home Mom," p. F3.*