Baby Maker

stressed1

A not so subtle illustration of our culture at work

Men dying on the field of battle – that ultimate moment of truth – often cry out for their mothers. There is something inherently amazing about mothers that builds a deep bond within us.

Building a person. It’s one of the rare miracles we are able to see in our daily lives. A mother made each of us. And paid the price. Wear and tear physically, chemically, and most insidiously, mentally. That’s just to build the physical child. Then the care of a live human being begins, and it never really ends. It’s unbelievably taxing. I mean…well, I wouldn’t really know, but I have observed. I know the things I did to my mother (that I remember). I’ve observed lots of mothers with hair disheveled wrangling with kids through a store, attending boring events they don’t have time for, learning the nuances of sports, music, or other activities they don’t care about, getting them to doctors, haircuts, and handling emotional breakdowns (their own as well as the kid’s) while picking up after them, making meals, and generally feeling expected to keep the house and themselves looking good.

It’s a lot of physical and mental work, and the emotional sacrifice is staggering. The intellectual sacrifice of dealing with those little minds day in and day out is hard to imagine. Just as bad is when they become ‘know-it-all’ teenagers. And then the mothers suffer through their child’s adult life when it finally hits them in the face.

Sure, there is a lot of joy a long the way. In many ways it’s surely the most incredible journey one can take in life.

But the sacrifices…  Careers are put on hold or given up. Entire ways of living and enjoying life are put aside and never experienced for the sake of being a mom. Things not seen and done, people not met. To pull it all off while also maintaining something of a life outside of that context is almost considered super-human, yet, most women feel that’s what they should be able to do, and not doing it makes them feel like a failure.

Is it really appreciated? Yes. It is. We love our mothers deeply. There is no one who can totally and completely replace all that a mother is to us. I realize other women sometimes step in to the role and do a fantastic job. I don’t take anything away from them, though there is something about that biological connection I’ve heard many mothers speak about. We love them. We depend on them. We wouldn’t be who we are without them.

Women are culturally trained that this is for them. That to fully realize themselves they must bear children. And in certain religions that expectation is further distorted such that they grow up expecting, even desiring, to have numerous kids. Some may want and can handle two, but end up bearing the burden of five or more. Obviously these days it’s possible for a modern woman to have a fulfilled life without rearing children, but there is a bit of a stigma to it. The role that feels right to most, the one that is supposed to fill you up and make life complete and happy almost no matter what else is in that life, is the role of the baby maker. There’s a lot of subtly applied pressure from somewhere deep within, some of which is biological. Add external pressure of family, a husband, friends, and religion, and the fate is virtually cast in stone. The appearance of choice belies the real feelings taking place underneath it all.

So here is the deal people. Women get it from all directions. As a society, as husbands and friends, we need not pile on. We need to engender an attitude that women are 100% of everything they need to be just by being. Just like men. I know some who are brilliant, stimulating, vibrant, compassionate people. It’s a real honor and privilege to be in their presence, whether or not they choose to make a baby.

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