Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Introduction

The experience of keeping (or retrieving) your power will make you fierce. As all mamas should be.

I’m pretty sure I’m post-feminist. I know many who will disagree so I’ll only speak from my experience. Is feminism still necessary? Probably- but I don’t believe I’ve ever been the victim of gender discrimination. I realize this is entirely due to the efforts of women before me (thanks Mom!). Things change, though. The feminist movement was about power- men had it, women were denied it, women took it. Women today are still in need of power, but these days, it’s not necessarily the men who are holding it.
Never is this so obvious as when women become mothers. The process of becoming pregnant, giving birth & parenting a young child seems to marginalize educated, intelligent women to the point where many will throw their power at anyone willing to catch it. Why is this? What makes a mother devalue herself as the least expert on her own body, her own baby? And why are the women who reject this system and keep their power for themselves so criticized? Worst of all, why are those willing to take the power the most likely to be those we’re encouraged to trust- our doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers? Is it human nature to take power when someone tries to give it to you? The answer to all these questions is summed up with one word: responsibility.
Power & freedom, to my mind, are two sides of the same coin. We all know that with greater freedom comes greater responsibility. What if all these power-abdicating women are actually giving away their responsibility? Such a system would work, if those taking the power also accepted the responsibility. But when was the last time the doctor who performed the c-section went home with the mother to help her recover? Do the specialists who give bad breastfeeding information pay for the formula when breastfeeding fails as a result of their advice?
This leads us to a big taboo that very few parents will acknowledge- they, & they alone, are responsible for their children. We can pretend we’re not. We can choose a hospital birth just in case. We can accept breastfeeding information that allows it to fail. We can place our children in daycare; send them to public school, countless other choices, big & small, that allow others power over our children’s lives. But ultimately, we are the ones left responsible for the outcomes of those choices.
Please don’t misread me here- I am not saying that those choices are irresponsible. In many cases, these would be appropriate. I am addressing those who might be making their choices based on fear of accepting responsibility. Is it easier to accept a negative outcome if it wasn’t your fault? I don’t think so. No one loves your kids more than you- why would you knowingly make a poor choice for them? Keep your power and trust that you know what you & your baby need. Your body can grow your baby, can birth your baby, can provide milk for your baby. You can educate your children. You can advocate for them. The experience of keeping (or retrieving) your power will make you fierce. As all mamas should be.
Maybe I’m more of a feminist than I think.


  1. I would like to contribute a post to this blog. Can you tell me how to submit it? Thank you!

  2. Hi Jamie,
    I will email you too, but wanted to post this publicly as well. We would love your contribution! Please send it to