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women/feminism/pregnancy

(42 Posts)
justforaminute Fri 19-Aug-11 12:16:58

this is not a dig at anyone and im not wanting to start a argument-id like to make this clear.
ive been around a while now-and theres something that disturbs me a bit.....
pregnancy!
i might be wrong but.....pregnancy seems to be a bad thing.
ok-yep-theres all the stuff about choice/sharing responsibility/childcare/the country youre in ect ect ect but...
i have had several children and i feel privaleged to have done so.
this is a privaledge that a fella hasnt got[pregnancy]and some women havent got sadly.
ive enjoyed being pregnant[even in difficult circamstances]and ive embraced it-ive not felt like some kind of"carrying vessell".
ive found it a wonderous experiance to give birth to a little human being and be a mother.
in our fights[as women and as feminists]dont we forget this sometimes?and arent we rubbishing this?and arent we rubbishing all the women of the past who have had childern....a lot in difficult circamstances and a lot who being mothers is been theyre pride and joy?
the mothers that have been proud to be mothers.
or am i alone in this?

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-Aug-11 12:18:58

Are yuo saying feminists are anti-pregnancy? I don't think that is the case at all

CRIKRI Fri 19-Aug-11 12:20:50

I can't say that I've noticed the role of mothers or the experience of pregnancy and motherhood being diminished by feminists. In fact, quite alot of feminist-supported campaigns have related to things like maternity rights, access to childcare, reproductive health and reproductive rights, etc. Would you be able to give some examples of what you've experienced that makes you feel mothers aren't valued by feminists? It's just that this might provide a helpful starting point for the discussion. Thanks!

foreverwino Fri 19-Aug-11 12:33:12

I think it is a myth put out by mras that feminists are anti motherhood.

I see one aim of feminism as to increase the value given to gestation, childbirth, breastfeeding and mothering.

justforaminute Fri 19-Aug-11 12:40:38

CRIKRI
yep-i know[12.20]..but im talking about actual pregnancy.
i feel like its a privalege that a fella hasnt got[and some women]
but its like its something that we have to "endure".
we talk about privalege [or rather non privalege]all the time-yet this privalege isnt aknowledged[i feel]
when do we stand up and say"pregnancy can be a great thing and i feel really privaledged to have been pregnant"
i dunno-maybe its me[shrugs]

sparky

sakura Fri 19-Aug-11 12:50:28

I completely agree with you justforaminute.
This is why I'm a radical feminist, rather than... dunno... a non-radfem.

There is a general line of though in society that men are the humans and women are the add-ons who have this extra burden of pregnancy and birth. Mothers are simultaneously glorified and vilified in patriarchal society. Mostly they're despised and disrespected.
So it's understandable that some women begin believing that bearing children is a burden, and that they buy into the nonsense that the reason women earn less is because they have babies. Ridiculous! Women earn less because society has been structured in a way that supports people who don't bear children, which is men, basically.

The best book you will ever get in this subject is Germaine Greer's THe WHole Woman. Her writing on this subject brings a tear to my eye every time. here's just one random quote from there:

"By investing in motherhood we would inject more money into childcare which is the only way to improve a system that at present relies on the contribution of disenfranchised, low paid, unresourced and unqualified women. The sooner we decide that mothers are entitled to state support to use as they wish, the less it will cost us in the long run. We will be told on all sides that we can't afford it. If we weren't paying to send aircraft-carriers to the Gulf and any other place Bill Clinton thinks a sabre should be rattled, we could afford it. It is a question of priorities. Dignified motherhood is a feminist priority. A permanent seat on the UN Security Council is not" (1999)

<sniffle>

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-Aug-11 12:50:49

I think most of us do feel that way, just not while we're actually going through it maybe. There are enough women out there who are desperate to get/stay pregnant for me to feel incredibly fortunate.

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-Aug-11 12:51:53

OK xpost with sakura that makes more sense, and in fact I was going to ask - do you mean we should be proud of childbearing in general?

sakura Fri 19-Aug-11 12:52:43

But at the same time, it's important that we don't minimize the risks of pregnancy too. Every woman who conceives a child is actually risking her health, indeed her life . Minimizing what women do in order to bring a child into the world serves men, especially men who are keen to pretend that child-bearing is "equal" or 50/50. WHen men squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of an orifice, in pain, and at risk of death, then and only then will parenting be 50/50

justforaminute Fri 19-Aug-11 13:22:07

Sakura[12.50]
thankyou Sakura-for one horrible minute i thought i was a rad fem who wasnt rad femsmile
[men are the humans and women are the add ons who have this this added burden of.................................]
ah-yes.
its the one thing a fella cant do is it....so turn it into a burden.actually this hits women who cant have children aswell doesnt it[seen as "less of a woman sometimes]

[12.52]....yep i agree Sakura.
how can child-bearing be equel-it cant.as i said-its one thing a fella cant do.
ah-i think we re singing from the same songsheet.....so i think ive just killed my own thread.
i do think we should shout a bit more about pregnancy being a good thing[sometimes]though and aknowledge the privaledge in it more though as it dont come across as this sometimes.

sparky

sakura Fri 19-Aug-11 13:24:09

"thankyou Sakura-for one horrible minute i thought i was a rad fem who wasnt rad fem"

you crack me UP sparky! grin

sakura Fri 19-Aug-11 13:25:31

yes, childless women are affected by all of this as well.
That's why the concept of trans women doesn't make sense. Yes, they're childless, but they're not regarded as non-mothers the way real women are. Real women are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

justforaminute Fri 19-Aug-11 13:31:04

Sakura[13.25].........spot on.

sakura Fri 19-Aug-11 13:32:40

except loads of trans women actually aren't childless. They brought children into the world by immaculate conception, oh sorry I meant PIV, using their P

justforaminute Fri 19-Aug-11 13:43:28

yep-and theyre now "mothers"

sparky

CRIKRI Fri 19-Aug-11 13:53:11

Yes, all that makes sense to me. It's not scientific, but in my experience, folks I have encountered who have done and said things that "devalued" pregnancy, childbirth and mothers in general, have most certainly not been feminists.

I remember once being asked by a guy why there were Lesbians involved in reproductive rights and childcare campaigns. For starters, he wrongly assumed that Lesbians would never require reproductive health services (e.g. sti prevention, gynae cancer screening, sterilisation, fertility treatment, etc.) or be in a parenting role. However, for Lesbians who are feminists, even where they might not personally require these things, are capable of thinking way beyond what is in their own immediate interests!

Yes, I also think MRA folks also peddle the idea that Feminists hate mothers and motherhood and are quite partial to consuming the odd toddler for their tea!

("Love children, but couldn't eat a whole one myself" grin)

alexpolismum Fri 19-Aug-11 14:04:08

I think that attitudes to breastfeeding are related to this as well. If motherhood in general is devalued, then why should we put a value on breastfeeding, something only women can do? This attitude naturally leads to propaganda about bottle feeding being better because Daddy can get to bond with the baby (as though men couldn't bond otherwise!) and so forth.

And of course this is another area where women are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

I also feel privileged to have carried my children, felt them moving around inside me and given birth to them and subsequently breastfed them. An amazing experience.

Sakura - spot on. We should not forget the risks involved with pregnancy and childbirth. So easy to do from our privileged position in the West, while mothers in developing countries die in childbirth every day. If I had not been in a western hospital, I might well have not survived the birth of my third child, and he would probably have died with me. And yet, people make light of these risks, if they don't disregard them completely.

justforaminute Fri 19-Aug-11 14:16:28

Good Point alexispolismum[breastfeeding]
and yes i agree.
sadly ive never been able to breastfeed[ive never had any milk come in with none of my babys].....and although i tried and tried..nothing happened.
made me feel not too good.
yeah damned if we do-damned if we dont.

sparky

alexpolismum Fri 19-Aug-11 14:28:30

sparky - my elder sister was like you - she tried and tried but was unable to breastfeed. She felt guilty and beat herself up over it, even though she really had tried her best and talked to bf counsellors, etc. Society does this to women - we're expected to fulfill this role perfectly and if we can't, we have failed as mothers and as women. Where does all this pressure come from? It makes no sense at all when you think about it.

I was unable to breastfeed my youngest son for his first month (he was in intensive care in an incubator with a gastric feeding tube) and although I expressed for him, I found expressing difficult and couldn't give enough milk. I also felt bad about it, even though I knew he wasn't starving and was receiving good medical attention. Why did I feel bad? I had done my best. I realised it was attitudes in society towards mothers and our responsibilities, etc, that I had soaked up and internalised.

justforaminute Fri 19-Aug-11 15:46:20

alexpolismum
yes..i felt the same.and youre right.
actually i think this is where my pnd came from on one occassion[pnd wasnt reconised in them days so much though].

sparky

mumwithdice Fri 19-Aug-11 15:55:48

I think, sparky, to answer your original question some feminists may view pregnancy as a negative, but not here on Mumsnet. If you're interested, there are some good blogs here.

justforaminute Fri 19-Aug-11 16:25:05

thankyou mumwithdicesmile

sunshineandbooks Fri 19-Aug-11 21:44:09

I think the messages we're fed from the patriarchy about pregnancy are a perfect reflection of the contradictory messages women are fed generally:

Pregnancy and motherhood is what being a woman is all about (preferably in as much of a self-sacrificing way as possible), at the same time as it's something to be endured. it's the madonna/whore complex all over again.

That said, I think it's ok to feel conflicted about it. I can't say I enjoyed pregnancy. I didn't hate it or anything, I just didn't love it the same some women do). I very much saw it as a means to an end, but at the same time I was in awe of the miracle of nature that is gestation.

startAfire Sat 20-Aug-11 09:01:03

Message withdrawn

justforaminute Sat 20-Aug-11 11:27:57

Startafire....[every single person on this planet was made in the womb of a woman and carried into the world through her labour]

what beutiful words Startafire.....youve lightened up my morning.

sparky

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