RH Reality Check recently spoke with Avital Norman Nathman, editor of The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality, about toxic ideas of perfection, parenting, and gender.
There have been many articles decrying Michelle Obama’s “un-feminist” choices. What these criticisms fail to acknowledge is that for women who are not single and childless/childfree, feminist choices often include a focus on their families and communities. This is particularly true of Black feminists.
People who think food is apolitical don’t know much about food, just like people who think taking care of kids isn’t important don’t know much about kids. Devaluing either isn’t just ignorant, it’s dismissive of the women who take on these essential roles to life and society.
Fields drew attention during a recent live-streamed conversation between bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry, when she asked about the tearing down of Black unmarried mothers by other Black women. RH Reality Check spoke with her about being a woman of color leader, stereotypes placed on Black unmarried mothers, and more.
War, natural disaster, environmental crisis. No matter the threat to their children, mothers fight back.
Having an abortion to prevent a child from being born with Down syndrome or another disability can be a positive moral choice. Okay, now let’s go on (assuming you’re not already plotting my demise).
What if all the grassroots groups who work with the families who are consistently pushed to the margins and thrown under the bus talked about their causes as if they were all connected? What if we worked as if we were facing the same stigma and hate? What if I, in my parenting, felt connected to immigrant mamas fighting to reclaim their community? What if I, in my resistance, understood deeply my relationship to mothers who lose their children to juvenile justice, foster care systems, and/or incarceration?
If you happen to be a woman of color, you simply don’t have any business that is your own, as far as society is concerned. The Jezebel and Welfare Queen stereotypes shape the responses you receive from others when you have a belly full of baby. So, the next time someone asks me how many more babies I’m going to have, I will have to respond with a “Girllllll, stay out my bedroom.”
Sometimes I want to be “that mom.” Not the mom that wakes up and first thing disconnects a tube from her son’s belly that just administered medication. Sometimes I want to be the other mom, whose kid grows out of their shoes so fast she hears the cash register at Foot Locker ringing in her sleep.
Let’s recognize that the way to honor motherhood is to respect and support a woman’s decision about whether she is ready to be a parent. That means making sure that every pregnant woman, regardless of her ability to pay, has health care insurance coverage for all of her medical needs, including abortion.