Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Pressure on Moms

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Pressure on Moms

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Pressure on moms

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An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published July 25:

In 1986 fewer than one in 10 babies in the province were born to women over 35. These days, almost one quarter of all births are from that cohort and the number is still rising.

There can be health consequences for both mother and child for pregnancies when a woman is 35-plus but the cultural and social implications are even more significant.

Thanks to easy access to birth control, women have been in direct control of their sexuality and their reproductive organs for the last 50 years. "The Pill" gave women the power to not only have sex when they want, but to have children on their own timetable or - gasp! - not at all.

Even for a modern woman, the social pressure to have children, particularly if that woman is in a stable heterosexual relationship, is daunting. It doesn't just come from overly anxious older women eager for their sons and daughters to deliver grandbabies. There remains a not-so-subtle directive that a girl doesn't become a woman until she becomes a mom.

For women, there remains a common belief that children make them complete, makes them part of a family, even though psychologists who study happiness and healthy relationships can stack up studies that show that nothing, not even money, adds stress and reduces happiness in a relationship like having kids.

Becoming a parent today is on a timetable of adulthood, just one box in a checklist of accessories to accumulate, like getting married, buying a car and a house, getting promoted, learning to play golf and going to Vegas or Mexico for a holiday.

For those who move into their 40s without children, they are greeted with pity or disdain.

"Oh," the eyebrow goes up. "You don't have kids?"

You are damaged goods, either because you are physically unable to create your own progeny or you are so hopelessly self-absorbed as to reject your primary biological duty.

Of course, the pressure doesn't go away just because women have children. Some would argue it's worse now than it ever has been.

Motherhood remains the great dividing issue among feminists because the very act of pregnancy can be construed as a capitulation to patriarchy ("you finally gave in to the man") or as the most physical expression of feminine power and identity possible. …

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