There is a pervasive belief that real women yearn for children and aspire most of all to be mothers. There is no room for other wants. No room for women to have a variety of temperaments and personalities. No room for even mothers to say that there may have been other things they desired more than mommyhood.
In a USA Today article about the new film "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" comes this from actress Jennifer Garner:
Garner understands her character's yearning. "There's no deeper want for a woman" than to be a mother, says the Hollywood mom, whose two young daughters visited the Georgia set daily in late winter with husband Ben Affleck. Read more...I find that insulting as a woman for whom motherhood was not a primary desire, despite the fact that I am a devoted mom today. And even among the women I know who always knew they wanted children, I can think of several who also nurtured deeper personal desires. There is nothing wrong with wanting nothing more than being a mother. It's just that many women don't feel that way. And that's okay, too.
Furthermore, can you imagine a similar thing being said of men? There's no deeper want for a man than to be a father. I cannot. Fatherhood is optional--something for men to consider. Motherhood is non-negotiable--we are to believe that the need to procreate is innate and biological for all women. And fathers are allowed to be whole people with a variety of desires. Mothers should be mothers. Women MUST BE mothers.
If "there's no deeper want for a woman" than motherhood, then does that mean women who don't want children or are ambivalent about children are somehow not women? The idea is foolish and damaging. It narrows women's options and shames them for not choosing motherhood.
Photo Credit: ClintJCL