Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Myths of motherhood

I've been reading Adrienne Rich Of Woman Born, which was written in the 1970's. In it, she talks about the myth of motherhood- that there is a natural way to feel about a baby. This myth makes mothers who don't feel this way- an instant connection and the ability to be patient and attend selflessly to all the child's needs- that they are "bad mothers."
Then I went and read this blog post on Cup of Jo, and realized that this myth still persists. The post is from the perspective of a father on the first year of his first child. I appreciate hearing his side of the story, but one comment rankled. He said, "Many women seem to have a tremendous capacity to step outside themselves and see things through the baby's eyes, like reading children's books." (Okay, granted, he didn't say "all" but there is still the suggestion here that it's a feminine ability).
Here was my comment:
Mother's do not necessarily have the ability to step out of themselves and look through a baby's eyes. Although I like some children's books, reading them over and over again is boring! And having to go slow is boring, too. Some women, and some men, too, may be able to do that whole childlike thing. But it's unfair to just assume that "women" are like that. We aren't all like that, and it puts unfair expectations on those of us who aren't. It tags us as "unnatural" or "bad mothers." And that's not true.

Okay, I just had to say all that. Adrienne Rich would be proud of me.

1 comment:

morningstar said...

I did a poetry study on Rich in college. Can't wait to find this to read. There's a good Bill Moyers special where he interviews Rich...they might have it at the library...I too expected the baby connection to be instantaneous but it does take time.