21 Miles: Swimming in Search of the Meaning of Motherhood
Synopsis of Swimming in search of the meaning of motherhood
After a decade of trying to become a mother – eleven rounds of unsuccessful IVF, multiple miscarriages and a pregnancy which proved almost fatal – Jessica Hepburn knew it was time to do something different.
So she decided to swim the 21 miles across the English Channel – no easy feat, especially for someone with an aversion to exercise who couldn't swim very well. As the punishing training commenced, Jessica learned you need to put on weight to stave off the cold. This then led to another idea: what if she wrote to a collection of inspiring women, asking if they would meet and eat with her to answer the question: does motherhood make you happy?
The response was overwhelming. From baronesses and professors to award-winners and record-breakers, amazing women from different walks of life – some mothers, some not – all with compelling truths to tell about female fulfilment and the meaning of motherhood. On 2 September 2015, Jessica set out from Dover beach in the dark, taking the words that each of the women had given to sea in her bid to answer the question.