Modern Motherhood


by Roxanne Tellier

Over the years, I, and many other writers, have written columns thanking our mothers for being our beloved mothers. The overall tone of these columns tends to favour the sappy and romantic notions we see in greeting cards, and in Hallmark movies. And that’s great! Mom’s put up with a lot dealing with their kids and being a mom, and they deserve at least one day a year in which their hard work is acknowledged. 

The other extreme, not as often found, are the sad stories of the children of the bad mothers, who struggle with their feelings about their feelings towards someone so integral to the formation of their lives. Motherhood has always been framed as essential to the very fabric of society. These children wonder what was wrong with them, and why they got the wrong end of the stick, mother-wise.  Their memories are not rosy. In truth, their memories are cruelly dissimilar to the generally maudlin tone of the day.

The day can be problematic for those who have only memories -good or bad – to cling to. Memories can be complicated.  It’s a difficult day for many, for varying reasons.  Some women struggle with getting pregnant; some women struggle with being pregnant. Some women have chosen not to have children; others have had children of their own, and children of their heart. No one’s ‘motherhood’ is exactly the same.

There’s a horrific symmetry in today’s celebration of motherhood and the leak that seeped from the Supreme Court this week, seeking to bring about the end of a woman’s reproductive rights in America. Social media pages extolling the virtues of mothers’ past and present vie with the rants and cartoons of those who are livid at the very idea of overturning these constitutional rights.  

Judge Samuel Alito’s screed tears at the heart of women’s rights. And his argument already shows that the Court will not stop at just disenfranchising women; next up will be a prohibition on birth control, attacks on the LGBTQ/transgender community, and the ending of the right to marry a person of your choice. All civil rights granted since the 60s are up for grabs under his judgment. The path to these assaults on civil rights are already outlined in the wording of this draft, and the arguments presented.

I grew up in the very beginning of the struggle for womens’ rights. Abortion has always been an option for me, and for my friends. No one I knew ever burned a bra, but everyone I know remembers what it was like to fight for equal rights, equal pay, and a toehold on the career ladder. We all remember what it was like to fight for the right to be considered ‘equal’ to men.

Will those become the ‘good old days’ of womens’ rights?

Statistically, one in four women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Most of the women choosing this path are already mothers. All will be women who are making the hardest decision of their lifetime, a decision often made harder by the attitudes and protests of people who would be appalled at the very idea of anyone having the nerve to tell them what to do with their own bodies. 

Motherhood should never be an honour only enjoyed by those forced to give birth by government decree. It’s an abomination of everything we believe to be encapsulated in the act of ‘mothering’. And yet – that could well be the future our young women will have to live within.

There’s much to consider this Mother’s Day …

But for those who identify as mothers … May you enjoy a lovely day.

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