Today is a special day in North America and around the globe. It signifies a deserved pause in busy times to honour the woman who brought you to life. Of course, there are several exceptions to the bio-normative perspective of motherhood that includes adoption, surrogacy, step-parenthood, and foster parenting. A traditional feminist analysis of mothering expands the bio-normative procreative function of the female body to include mothering roles, which may or may not be performed by the woman who bore the new person into the world.
I was a relatively younger mother myself. Deciding to have my children prior to obtaining my Master of Social Work degree or establishing my chosen professional career. Like many women of my time, we were children of immigrants who came to Canada in search of the promise of the New World. We aspired to fulfill dreams of higher education that our parents believed would ensure that the New World would steer a better course than previous generations. I can only imagine the hope that fuelled my parents generations as they sailed across the Ocean to arrive in the Halifax habour. Many cousins sailed to Ellis Island in New York, all sharing dreams of New Beginnings as young men and women full of potential and dreams for a better life.
It was this vision of higher education that we children of immigrants strived to acheive. The view was that higher education would “teach” us to be better humans. A modern world where people communicate with eloquence, understanding and compassion. We had faith in rational models of problem solving, science, analysis, and deliberation. Our parents cautiously trusted insitutions of higher education, as they lived through the terrible & far reaching impacts of “eugenic sciences” in Europe.
Planning to have my children was the best decision of my life. Having two children twenty-months apart was a happy surprise that kept us on our toes. We had lots of help from my mother, sisters, family, and friends. There is something truly sublime in the simple, as many poets, philosophers, scientists, and artists have tried to capture and recreate over the years.
Perhaps, this sublime quality of all that is beautiful in the world will forever be beyond our human grasp. Nonetheless, we continue to try. It is this gift of hope that New Life heralds to mothers around the world. Motherhood is to me a shared experience that is both amazingly unique and common at the same time.
The cultural and geo-location of my personal experiences as Mom and everything else is shaped by my Italian roots. Fiercely identified as feminist in my views, the ongoing tension with mysogyny & patriarchy in my life and work remains. In humility, I gently nod Simone de Beauvoir’s magnum opus The Second Sex in 1949, and thank the academy for reminding “striving” women about its current relevance.
I remain a “striving” woman myself. It is my hope that being a Mother and “Striving” remains fluid. My genuine hope is that new mothers will find this balance to strive, achieve, and sustain all the while growing healthy, happy, and compassionate people. Happy Mother’s Day!!
Dr. Romano-Dwyer, CEO & Owner, Health & Wellness Affiliates Clinic
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