Mother’s mother’s mother’s Day

One more Mothers’ Day comes and goes with the usual messages, reminders, stories, interviews with new moms and old, and the inevitable advertisements (you are precious to her, now give her something else that is precious….fade out to a stunning diamond set, or a luxury holiday etc.)

There are those who will say the glass is half empty and ask why this tokenistic remembrance of mothers only on one day of the year when they are giving up their bodies and minds and emotions and ambitions and often entire lives to take on this role.

There are those who will say the glass is half full and say, well, at least on this one day the kids and society will wake up from their stupor and be conscious of the role you play in their life and acknowledge and appreciate it.

Someone like me will say, that’s all well and good, but step back and see that the glass is an illusion and find out who is holding it !!

cartoon

Motherhood comes in so many shades–biological, adoptive, foster, surrogate, planned, unplanned, unwanted, step mother, sometime ex –mother. (Sometime ‘mother’ is a large pod in a battery farm like the Matrix !!)

Being a mother is so glorified in our cultures that anyone who cannot be one due to infertility is subjected to awful treatment. In the villages in India a childless woman will not be invited to any functions in case her shadow falls on someone’s child and it takes ill. That is involuntary; so imagine how society treats those who want to actually choose to be child free (I came across this way of wording it rather than childless and thought it so much more empowering!).

happy to not be pregnant

Someone who does not want to get pregnant or someone who has an abortion are seen as an insult to the motherhood concept and become the outliers. But the reality is that not every woman is cut out to be a mother, and the vast majority of abortions everywhere are carried out for women who are already mothers and recognize the price to be paid for bringing another child into this world, who they have to give themselves up to raise.

Of course we should recognize that while motherhood is glorified it is done so only if it is within the confines of a heterosexual marriage. Anything before, after or beyond, is again looked upon askance! As though the same rules of biology, physical and emotional issues don’t apply any more.

Have you ever wondered why other mammals seem to do fine in labour and humans have so much trouble? Evolutionary biology explains that the various changes in the pelvis that took place as a result of becoming an animal that walked on two feet and then more or less upright, combined with a growing larger brain in the neonate, led to a greater potential for cephalo-pelvic disproportion (CPD) than in any other mammals (with the exception of some higher order monkeys and apes). This illustration makes it totally clear.

CPD

Read this brilliant article in full if you are interested in knowing the details:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1471-0528.2002.00010.x/pdf

Since CPD and obstructed labour continues to be among the biggest killers of women in labour in our part of the world, I guess women are continuing to pay the price for the evolution of humankind. Perhaps the original sin’ was not eating the apple nor sex, but standing upright!

Speaking of our common ancestral ‘Eve’ you probably remember your mother’s maiden name really well now cos it’s usually a bank password question! But do you know your mother’s mother’s maiden name? And her mother’s maiden name?

So while your Mitochondrial DNA has kept the genetic memory very much alive, those names are lost in the mists of the patriarchy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/24/science/mitochondrial-dna-mothers.html?_r=0

As much as 50% of your personal family history is missing vital information! Maybe this mother’s day you should write up a family tree and find out those names and make your children learn them too. That is what will make not just your mother’s day a special one, but also the mothers mother’s mother’s day!

 

 

 

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About Suchitra Dalvie

Suchitra Dalvie is the Coordinator for the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership and a Steering Committee Member for CommonHealth. She is a strong believer in women's rights to safe abortion and has worked in promoting the cause for over 10 years. She is also a practicing Gynecologist.
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