Our plans for a series with the theme of birth sparked an interesting discussion among Exponent bloggers. Birth can be a difficult topic; not all women have the opportunity or desire to give birth and rhetoric equating womanhood with motherhood can have some damaging side effects.
Amelia: I spent too many years suffering—sometimes very literally so—because of my upbringing to think of myself primarily as a future mother, fighting with the equation of womanhood with motherhood, birth, and childrearing.
A lot of the rhetoric around reclaiming birth, natural parenting, breastfeeding advocacy, can really push my buttons. It just feels like the other side of the coin the church has handed out to women for years—which I fully acknowledge is problematic on my part. These things are part of what it can mean to be a woman for most women. But too often even the feminist treatments of these topics feel reductive to me, finding something essential to womanhood in them. I reject that entirely. I do not believe that womanhood at its essence is about giving birth, carrying a child, breastfeeding, caring for children.Read More