There’s lots of talk of “privilege” these days. If a person is using that word, they’re often saying, “You might want to check your privilege.”
Well, yesterday, I checked my privilege. I’m a mother. Birthing a child and becoming a mother is something that only a human with a uterus can do. It’s the ultimate privilege. No matter how hard a man tries, he simply cannot do it. He is marginalized. He might have catalyzed the chemical reaction to make the baby and that creates a mother but that’s the extent of his contribution.
It’s a marvel that feminists diminish the one thing that can only be done by women — giving birth, nursing, and having children. But they diminish motherhood in big ways and small. For feminists, children are a curse, a trap, a dead end, something that might interfere with more important work.
What’s more important work?
Certainly there’s no more challenging work. I’ve had lots of jobs — house keeping, mowing lawns, answering phones, supervising sales people, doctoring patients, writing, editing, managing — motherhood is, hands down, the toughest job. The pay stinks. The enjoyment of a job well-done can take decades.
The Feminist movement got hung up on the challenges and didn’t consider the benefits. Joanna Hyatt asks, “When did the Feminism become so anti-motherhood?” She says:
Key architects of the movement like Gloria Steinam equated marriage to prostitution and Helen Gurley Brown, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, wrote in her book Sex and the Single Girl, “Hard work and sex will set you free (as long as you don’t have children).” If you did happen to have or even want children, she had this nugget of advice, “Never waste time feeling guilt, never agonize too much, and have a lot of paid help at home, and never, ever, let them interfere with the long climb to the top.”
In other words, untangled and unattached sex will set you free. Losing your single status or even worse, getting pregnant, could be the death of your career, your sense of freedom and the claims to yourself. Except that neither Steinam or Gurley Brown knew if that was actually true since neither had children. And ironically, both were married. But they couldn’t be bothered by such trivial inconsistencies. They, along with others, just assumed they knew best and hijacked a promising feminist movement as a vehicle for their misleading and damaging sexual propaganda [Emphasis added.].
The church used to do a good job elevating motherhood and would provide a counterweight to the negative cultural messages. Unfortunately, that reverence has diminished over time. What if honoring mom’s offends non-mothers? It’s not like motherhood makes a person better than others. Well, if done right, it should.
As social support for motherhood wanes, women are putting off having children. They’re older. Because they’re older, they have more trouble getting pregnant. They’re more likely to have an STD–one of the main causes of infertility.
If any shiny motherhood data points exist, it’s that wealthy and foreign-born moms are having more children. That’s good news. America needs more children, but she really needs more mothers. Why?
Mothers see the world differently. They see the world through the eyes of their children and feel compelled to make that world better. Mothers develop patience. They wait for the children. They wait and wait and wait. They get more efficient. There is less time so more must be done.
Mothers become about not entirely self. Well, good mothers do. I don’t know if anyone can grasp his or her own selfishness completely until he or she must care for another being always and forever. The permanence, the eternal nature of motherhood, that link binds a mother. Some chafe against it. Some try to cut it. Some even try to kill it. It’s impossible. Once a mother, always a mother.
It’s a paradox that in losing of her ego, a mother gains many more. Her children are hers — of her. She multiplies herself and her influence. Parts of her character and personality and interests splinter into these other beings while they are wholly themselves. Who she is becomes bigger even as she pours herself into her children.
This mystery and delight, and yes, privilege, escapes some women. They suffer this loss knowing that something magical is out of reach.
I’ve thought for some years that feminism and the Left generally seek to diminish both men and women. They seek to kill motherhood (which is the most obviously feminine thing to do) and to kill masculinity. By blurring and blanding, men and women are nothing special. They lost their flavor. They become flat and dull.
The ultimate thumb in feminism’s eye, ironically, is motherhood. To see a pregnant mother and then a mother with a child is to see a woman in her power. She alone made this painful transition from woman to mother. Her body helped build this baby. It is from her. She sustains it.
Meanwhile, Feminism’s sacrament is killing babies — abortion. Abortion kills the baby, yes. It also is an attempt to kill the mother. As too many women find out post-abortion, that’s not possible. Her body and her life were already changed by that baby. She already had to change in response to this person inside her. The communication had begun. The relationship formed. Killing it cannot undo what had already been done.
Motherhood needs to be elevated again. Honored. It is a privilege. It’s the best kind of privilege. After spending a weekend checking the privilege of motherhood, I can say, without hesitation, it’s a good and beautiful thing.
Photo credit: CIO DE FOTO, Flickr, Creative commons