Motherhood. The female experience feminism forgot. Part #1
A friend of mine posted this quote from Polly Toynbee today, at almost exactly the same time I was sent this article about the (dis)connection between feminism and mothering.
"Feminism is the most revolutionary idea there has ever been. Equality for women demands a change in the human psyche, more profound than anything Marx dreamed of. It means valuing parenthood as much as we value banking." (Polly Toynbee)
It's absolutely true. This de-valuing of parenting - alongside the myths that birth = suffering and mothering makes you weak - is exactly why my work is seen as niche, despite the fact that 87% of British women will give birth by the time they're aged 45. It's also the reason so few women actively engage in antenatal education. It's what my friend calls 'de-womaning'; the process of actively masking traits perceived to be female, in case you're perceived to be weak, unreliable, emotional. This 'de-womaning', the drive to not be caught out by the nature of our femaleness, the intention to fit within the male structures of our lives, can have serious effects on our mental health. It's no surprise that post-natal depression is prevalent among professional women. Nor that women reporting traumatic birth experiences often feel the not having been heard to be the worst aspect of their treatment.
Please do read this - it's 5 minutes well spent