The ‘intensive mothering’ trap

Long before I had my first child, I had internalized the message that starting a family would be the end of the enjoyable aspects of my life.

The stories I heard about parenting — beginning with pregnancy and feeding — prepared me for a bleak reality, one of burden and reduced autonomy. Even when other parents congratulated me on my pregnancy, I sensed an unspoken ache of sympathy. Having a family was hard, the world seemed to say, but mothering was hardest.

Parenting is indeed hard. But it would be years before I realized that the real issue is how new parents, especially mothers, are hoodwinked into believing they must surrender their interests and identity the moment their baby is born and until they turn 18.


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