Monday, June 6, 2011


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.


  1. Maternity leave in the US is a joke. Six weeks total (including what you have to take in the beginning if you suffer from morning sickness and don't have enough sick time) unpaid, and only IF you qualify for FMLA. (Which means you need to be working for a company that offers FMLA, and working there for a year to qualify for it.) It is just cruel. That isn't enough time to where a child would be sleeping through the night, barely enough time for a mother to establish a cohesive nursing routine (and how friendly is the company going to be about her pumping when she returns?) and most daycare centers don't take babies until they are 8 weeks. Ridiculous.

    Not to mention the casual discrimination against women when they return; other coworkers resenting them for having to take time off for a sick child, being passed up for promotions, the assumption you don't take your job "seriously" enough because you dared to get pregnant, etc.

    It infuriates me that most other industrialized countries get a year (paid!) maternity leave. The US has a serious problem with how it treats mothers and children. (And don't even get me started on the current attempts to defund planned parenthood and WIC!)

    Lovely post, Jillian. :)

  2. Agreed on all accounts! The United States really needs to catch up, especially since we're all "family first". ;)