Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Would It Kill Jezebel to Write a pro Children/Parenting Piece?

I don't read Jezebel often, but when I do, I am always prepared to read some kind of failure or erasure.  It seems to me, that feminist spaces are quite content to belittle parenting and motherhood.  Rarely do we read anything that supports a woman's right to mother, and instead we are inundated with the importance of the pro choice argument.  I fully support a woman's right to choose, but I cannot help but wonder when it is going to be acknowledged that choice also means choosing to mother. 

Jezebel decided to report on a study published Psychological Science University of Waterloo researchers write:

"Many people believe that to be truly fulfilled in life, it is necessary to experience the joys of parenthood. Children are considered an essential source of happiness, satisfaction, and pride. However, the idea that parenthood involves substantial emotional rewards appears to be something of a myth."

I would like to know how one quantifies love?  What scale do we use for the measurement, and how do we know for certain that parents are faking or over stating what they feel? 

Maraget Hartmann was so determined to push this study, that she actually wrote the following: "The parents who only read about the high cost of spawning were more likely to talk about the emotional satisfaction they receive from parenting." No human being spawns, we reproduce and that is a bigoted term to apply to parenthood. So Hartmann just happened to come across a journal article that upholds all of the negative connotations that they have been so guilty of perpetuating in the past.  Jezebel is anything but a pro mother, or pro child environment, and so how can I, or any mother read that article and see this as nothing but an attack.

Not all women enjoy the experience of mothering.  It is further complicated by the fact that there are few social support systems to help to raise a child, however it is still a large leap to declare that parents don't love their children or inflate how we feel.

The moment Destruction was born I was overwhelmed with love.  Though it took them less than a minute to hand me my son, because they were weighing and measuring him, I was desperate to see him.  When they handed him to me, my heart was so full, I broke down in tears.  I knew his father wanted to hold him too, but I didn't want to let go.  When I finally did, the unhusband's first words were, "I have a son, I love him so much.  Can I kiss him."  Our baby boy was not even five minutes old and he brought us such a level of joy, I don't even have the words for how I felt at the moment.

Mayhem's story is a little different, because they were terrified that I would have a stroke, because my blood pressure was off the charts.  When I had him, they whisked him away from me.  I didn't get to see him until a few hours later, but when they handed him back to me, I held him close and kissed him all over.  This little miracle was made out of love and I wanted him to know that.

I love my children more than I can ever express to you.  I won't deny that they frustrate the living hell out of me some days.  It is costing an arm and a leg to raise them, but I have yet to regret a single dollar that I have ever spent on them.  I have gone without all sorts of things, because I want to make sure they have everything they need and a few of the things they want.  Their happiness is my absolute priority.  I am absolutely enraged that anyone could suggest that this is not real, or some kind of empty protestation. They don't know what lives in my heart.  They don't know what my children contribute to my life.  This is not a one sided relationship in which I give and they take. I believe it is a measure of ageism that the contributions of children can be so easily erased.

I also think holding up the standard of perfect bliss to motherhood/parenting is ridiculous.  Tell me one thing in life that people are happy with 100% of the time?  No job is ever perfect, no marriage/relationship is perfect, and so I fail to see why the occasional discontent from parents, somehow means that we don't love our children, as much as we profess.  Motherhood is hard work. It is full of stress and responsibility, and anyone who said differently, would either be lying about their parenting status, or they would be some kind of stepford wife.

I don't advocate everyone become a parent, but I certainly believe that those of us who are, deserve a hell of a lot more support.  It seems every time I turn around, all I see is criticism.  Our kids are too loud, or we are ignorant breeders, we have less intelligence because we enjoy talking about our children in a positive manner and even watching the occasional cartoon or silly show with them, is somehow a sign that we are obsessive and in a state of denial.  You would think by now, that feminists would realize how divisive this approach is, but they are too busy attacking marginalized women, who refuse to take on the label feminist to realize the various ways they alienate the very same women they claim to support.

I determined long ago that Womanist Musings would be a safe place for mothers and children.  Though there are many women who choose to remain childless, it is ridiculous to pretend that the majority of women don't choose to mother at some point in their lives.  How exactly does it advance the cause of women's empowerment to constantly attack and belittle us for our choices?  Respecting women, means accepting and promoting their reproductive choices.  It means fighting to make the various roles we take on easier.  Enjoy your edgy humour Jezzies, you become more irrelevant every day in the cause of women's activism.