Christine’s recent post about her astonishment about how often mothers speak disdainfully of motherhood — often in front of their kids — is really worth reading. Go check it out.
I’ll never cease to be amazed at how frequently I see this. Just this week I was CC’d on an email exchange between my mom and a family friend who, upon learning that her daughter is pregnant, said that she was glad to hear it so that her daughter will finally understand how difficult it is to be a mother. And an acquaintance who was having a tough day with her three-year-old son (her only child), said to me in an almost accusatory tone, “I’m so glad we’re done [having children]. You want to have more kids WHY?” And that’s just this week.
I should be clear that I’m not saying that I don’t have bad days or that I don’t (frequently) feel stressed and overwhelmed by all that I have to do on a daily basis. I do. In fact, just this morning I was groaning about the difficulties of carrying around a 22 lb. baby in a two-story house while pregnant and keeping up with a toddler. But I think there’s a difference between seeing it as just part of life vs. some extraordinary, borderline unnatural burden.
I haven’t been able to put my finger on what exactly I think is going on in our culture here, though, as usual, I think the widespread acceptance and use of contraception has something to do with it, as I mentioned here (my regular readers know that I can trace the root of every world problem except global warming back to contraception). 🙂 It seems that women (and men) see our default state in life as one of childlessness, and that having children is seen as something out of the ordinary that we might choose to take on after careful planning and consideration. It’s always mentally more difficult to deal with something that we categorize as unusual as opposed to something we see as a natural (perhaps challenging, but natural) part of life.
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