Author (Greek version): Georgia Kiziridou
Translation: Evi Diamantopoulou
Editor: Harriet Spala
“I got pregnant after a short and superficial affair with a guy. I was really happy when I found out I was pregnant… my life would finally have a purpose. I got tired of friends and acquaintances asking me: when would I assume my responsibilities as an adult? Nevertheless, it is said that being a mother completes you as a person and as a woman. Especially here, in the province, a woman over thirty is considered an old maid. I don’t really mind about my partner and father of my child… I achieved what I wanted… from now on, I will devote myself to my child… after all, I have a job and my own house… finally… from being in a frivolous relationship the outcome is I will at least have a child”.
Is motherhood the real purpose of a woman? Or are we living in a postmodern era, where social stereotypes and gender roles are questioned? According to the writer Simon de Beauvoir, from a very young age girls are educated according to the idea that their natural tendency is motherhood and care for their family members. Therefore, a social command is created, demanding women to become mothers and to consider motherhood a holy duty and universal destiny that automatically renders them unable to choose for themselves the roles they wish to serve in their lives, since the maternal instinct is strongly projected and prevails as the only alternative of living.
The social belief that motherhood represents normality, whereas non-motherhood represents the opposite, is generally believed. Thus social and mass media have over promoted the narcissistic motherhood. Infants become the trophy of adults and the depiction of the tired mother works as dazzling torment. More than often, there have been many features about mothers, famous and non-famous, who sacrificed their careers, their quality of life and their spare time in the name of motherhood, to avoid being characterized as infertile, psychologically traumatized, immature, or even handicapped.
This movement, supported many times by relative industrial campaigns, can provoke feelings of anxiety, depression and inferiority to each mother that embraced motherhood as a self-fulfilling prophecy and an adulthood test, but feels that she cannot fulfill social requirements and expectations. Many times on a clinical level, mothers confess with difficulty and guilt that they feel their child is an obstacle and an intruder to their current lives.
Τhe childfree movement was created in response to this “motherhood normality” having as supporters couples and singles, who consciously choose to live without children.
An open dispute and competitiveness is observed between these two movements. The true battle however, is the one regarding ourselves in making conscious choices and accepting other people’s choices. If truly conscious people increase, our entire society might become better. After all, the purpose of each person is their own happiness… an inner, deep, true, happiness which cannot possibly ever be forced.