cover image Undocumented Motherhood: Conversations on Love, Trauma, and Border Crossing

Undocumented Motherhood: Conversations on Love, Trauma, and Border Crossing

Elizabeth Farfán-Santos. Univ. of Texas, $24.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-4773-2613-8

Anthropologist Farfán-Santos follows up Black Bodies, Black Rights with a compassionate study of “a type of motherhood molded by migration, the U.S.–Mexico border, and a quest for a better future.” Though the focus is on Claudia García, a young mother who brought her two-year old daughter from a small Mexican village to Houston in 2013, Farfán-Santos also interweaves conversations with her mother, who was born in the U.S. and had to send her infant children to live with relatives in Mexico so she could work. Claudia, meanwhile, undertook the trek to reunite with her husband in Houston so their daughter Natalia, who was born with a hearing impairment, could receive treatment. Even more harrowing than the details of Claudia’s journey to the U.S.—she was separated from Natalia for 15 days—are the details of the family’s costly struggle to find medical care in a system “rooted in profit and privilege.” Though the family was able to move from an apartment into a house with front and back yards, Claudia was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and uterine cancer. Farfán-Santos movingly describes how the Latinx community comes together to help their own and makes a powerful case that the traumas of migration manifest themselves in the bodies of immigrants. This is a stirring portrait of pain and perseverance. Illus. (Oct.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated that this was the author's first book. It also incorrectly stated that the author's mother was born in Mexico.