I’ve always been ambivalent about having children, and whilst I have been told by far too many people that I have a natural nurturing side, I haven’t necessarily felt a need to channel that nurturing in to children of my own. Yet at this point in time I am feeling an extraordinary amount of pressure to become less ambivalent about child-bearing, whether it’s from society wondering what the hell a 35 year old woman is doing showing no signs of settling down, or family who have taken it upon themselves to make comments on my childlessness.
Honestly, as part of an Indigenous Australian family I thought I may be buffered from this a bit due to the fact that culturally I’m already a mother, and a grandmother, but apparently I am missing out on something huge, or so I’ve been told, and I won’t be complete if I don’t have children. Yep, even with kinship at play, it still seems to be rather unthinkable that an Aboriginal woman hasn’t given having her own children much thought.
From Celeste Liddle’s guest post, “Turning 35 and the quandaries of “reproductive choice”” at Crikey. I really like the perspective she provides in this excerpt on ‘mothering’ in Aboriginal culture. We’re very individualistic in Anglo Saxon culture so ‘mothering’ is defined in a restrictive way reflecting those cultural values. If maternal feminism only gets written about by white feminists then you can see how our insights will be limited.
More of Liddle’s writing can be found at the fantastic Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist. Looooove.
(Thanks so much to Claire B. for the link).