While reading my blog roll this morning, I came across this post by Renee at Womanist Musings and saw this on my Twitter feed, from Michelle Goodman. And I've been chewing on them both all day.
By now, most of my friends are probably sick of hearing me talk about babies. I think babies are adorably cute and squishy and my biological clock went off at 21 and hasn't stopped ticking since then. I've been gobbling down literature about motherhood & babies for a while and started eyeing cribs at Target. Point is, I want kids. I didn't always though.
After watching what my mother went through, trying to survive an abusive marriage with four kids in tow, I didn't think I wanted to put myself through that. I didn't want to be married, I didn't want to the heartache that my mother endured. But I did meet a really great guy and that's changed. But motherhood and all it encompasses has always been a topic close to my heart. Whether to become a mother or not, who is encouraged to do so and who isn't, how we mother, etc. Which brings me to the two aforementioned articles.
Renee's post talks about a lot but the part I want to focus on for this post is the unrealistic expectations (American) society pushes on mothers. It's hard to believe that anyone bounces back from pregnancy related weight gain in ten weeks, but with the latest celebrity mom's boasting about it from every magazine cover, it just enforces such a belief. It's also part of this again American idea that we must have everything now, now NOW! We are not a patient people, but that's a whole other post. It's unfair, sexist, unhealthy to push these ideas and practices on mothers.
The second article describes a situation that actually happened to a friend of mine. She was recovering from a C-Section and she and her fiance were in the process of buying their first house. And the company refused to process the loan until she went back to work. How many different ways are we going to punish mothers? The maternity care in this country is laughable, there is no decent maternity leave (or paternity leave) system in place and not to mention that mothers get paid less overall.
Mothers and motherhood is something near and dear to my heart, and not just because I want to be one, although it may seem that way to my friends. It pains me deeply to see what they go through, only to be vilified, humiliated, and punished for not living up or exemplifying an unrealistic standard of motherhood. It's time we change.