I was taking a couple of weeks’ breaks from beat the summer. My family and that i — my husband and my sons, then 9 and seven — planned to spend the time at our house on the New Jersey shore. When my mother asked what we might be doing on our vacation, I told her we might be together — getting to the beach and therefore the nearby funfair , cooking, playing within the yard.
In response, my mother said: “Oh, that’s not much of a vacation for you. I’ll bet you can’t wait to urge back to figure. Motherhood, it’s the toughest job within the world. All sacrifice!”
“Really?” was all I could say in response.
I was looking forward to uninterrupted time with my boys. we might spend days by the ocean and take trips to the boardwalk, where they might scream with delight while riding the roller coaster — an equivalent one I’d ridden once I was their age, then ridden alongside them until Hurricane Sandy deposited it into the Atlantic. We’d ram each other with bumper cars; we’d ride the old-fashioned merry-go-round, waiting until my youngest son’s favorite horse, bright-blue Freddy, became available. Some days were bound to end in tears of exhaustion, but the tears didn’t outweigh the enjoyment. Even on the bad days.
My mother was only trying to be sympathetic to my life as a working mother, but the self-satisfied way she proclaimed the sacrificial nature of motherhood grated. I don’t believe for one second that motherhood is that the hardest job within the world nor that it’s all sacrifice. Still, it wasn’t fair responsible her; she was merely parroting a standard refrain. Once my annoyance lifted, in its place spread a sort of clarity that helped me to know how these linguistic tropes reinforce the disempowerment of mothers and ladies.
The assertion of motherhood as sacrifice comes with a perceived glorification. a lady is predicted to sacrifice her time, ambition and sense of self to a better purpose, another worthy than her own individual identity. This leaves a vacuum within the place of her value, one that others rush to fill.
When a lady becomes pregnant, she seems to become property. Perhaps because bearing children ensures the continuation of the species, it’s often prioritized as a part of a bigger agreement. Not only does this logic cause an effort to legislate women’s bodies, but also in smaller, everyday gestures, boundaries get crossed. Many friends tell stories about being touched by strangers during pregnancy, as if a woman’s maternal status turns her into a vessel to handle.
Written quite 30 years ago, Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” offers a cautionary tale of womanhood as sacrifice. during this dystopic novel, women are grouped consistent with the use’s men determine for them: namely, sterile wives married for appearance or fertile “handmaids,” who are raped routinely for procreation. One male character declares that the lady must “learn in silence with all subjection” which “she shall be saved by childbearing.” during this scenario, the act of motherhood is subverted for the advantage of those in power, and that they escape with it due to the concept of motherhood as sacrifice.
When we hold close the thought of motherhood as sacrifice, what we actually sacrifice is our sense of self, as if it’s the worth we buy having children.
Motherhood isn’t a sacrifice, but a privilege — one that a lot of folks choose selfishly. At its most atavistic, procreating ensures that our genes survive into subsequent generation. You’ll call this selfishness as biological imperative. On a private level, once we bring into the planet a being that’s folks, someone we’ll protect and love and for whom we’ll do everything we will to assist thrive and flourish, it begets the question, how is that this selfless? Selflessness implies that we’ve no skin within the game.