We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Excerpts from "The Well-Connected Mother: The Centrality of Motherhood is not just an Idea" by Juli Wiley:
Motherhood starts with conception. Pope John Paul IIsaid that the Annunciation, the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary, is a high point not only of the history of the human race but of the universe. At the Annunciation, the Word became flesh, became flesh in the body of a woman. This reminds me of how women’s bodies are different from men’s, and what this meant for Mary and what it means for us.
Men are often tempted to think that their bodies were made for their own use. To a great extent this is true for everyone: Your hands, sir, are yours, they are for your use, and mine are for my use. A man can indulge this illusion of autonomy even further by supposing that even his genitals are there for himself. They’re a source of at times almost compelling drives and intriguing sensations. Even his testes are useful for him, in that the hormones they produce provide certain secondary sexual characteristics he has an interest in maintaining.
But a woman’s body has all these nooks and crannies which are no use to us but evidently were put there for someone else. Don’t get me wrong: We women have our pleasure doodads and our own hormonal self-interest as well. But then, well, there’s the womb. That’s not there for me. I can do without it. It was obviously put there for someone else. The same is true of mature mammary glands, rich with branching ducts and reservoirs, as they are found in nursing mothers and as they are not found in childless females, however nubile and Partonesque they may be.
Our female bodies are connectors: Inter-connectedness is not just a concept, it’s built into us. This gives us the sense that we find in Mary’s Magnificat, of being, within our own bodies, the living link between past and future: “Behold, all generations will call me Blessed. . . . His mercy is on those who fear him, from generation to generation. . . . As he spoke to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.”
Nice piece, albeit a little overwrought. Agree with her on the main points. Especially that every kid deserves married parents. Importance of breastfeeding. A female body as never her own.
But why do people look (or should I say avoid looking?) at me now as if a once admired race car were now a rusting hulk by the side of the road? Everyone is always prattling on about the holy burden of motherhood, but they'd rather lust after bimbos and go hunting and generally act as if we mothers didn't exist. Once we have delivered, nursed, nurtured and educated our children, we are husks to be cast aside.
I felt a sense of awe at the power of God to grow a baby inside me, a certain amazement that I survived the agony of childbirth, never lost the deep hatred of my husband it left me with (few men give their women the kind of encouragement and real support they need in labor--it would be better to leave it to doctors and nurses who are used to blood and pain so won't be as likely to fail the women).
I have never forgiven my husband that he would not let me have more children. I wanted six. He was appalled by the mess and expense of three. I turned away from him when he said no more after the third. No need to have my tubes tied (not that I would have let any mere male tell me what to do with my body). I just kept to myself.
I still call them my children. Never ours. I think of his involvement with them as tangential. He never grew them. He never even held a job to support them. He never bottle fed them, they only wanted breast milk til 2 or 2 1/2 years of age. He never changed a diaper or cleaned up throw up.
I love my children passionately, know that soon they will be flying away and how bereft I will be without them. But I do not feel holy or powerful as a result of being a mother. I feel weak, tired, exhausted, broken hearted (two of them have special needs), a failure, a bad example, etc. Motherhood reveals our weakness to us, not our strengths. The vulnerability of loving someone who will break your heart again and again again, and who, unlike an unsatisfactory spouse, cannot be thrown out or tuned out.
And yet I never regret having my children. They are miracles, so infinitely superior to me, so new, so full of ideas and energy and life and love.
I still want more children. Is there anything as foolish as a middle aged woman who would go "Yes!" if she "accidentally" got pregnant?!