With all that has been said about the mommy wars recently, I wanted to highlight what Elizabeth Cady Stanton, women’s rights pioneer and philosopher, shared about one of her births:

“I never felt such sacredness in carrying a child as I have in the case of this one.  She is the largest and most vigorous baby I ever had, weighing twelve pounds. And yet my labor was short and easy.  I laid down about fifteen minutes, and lone with my nurse and one female friend brought forth this big girl. I sat up immediately, changed my clothes, put on a wet bandage, and, after a few hours’ repose, sat up again.  Am I not almost savage? For what refined, delicate, genteel, civilized woman would get well in so indecently short a time?” (quoted by Gaskin, Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta, 70)

Sadly, many modern-day feminists have forgotten how childbirth and child-rearing was meant to be so valued by the pioneers of its own movement.  Ina May Gaskin points out, “even the writing of modern-day feminists have contained echoes of the recurrent theme of revulsion of the body – especially of the life-giving female body” (Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta, 69). In my opinion, true feminism includes a reverence for the power of the gift of giving life and the nurturing  of it thereafter.  This war between stay at home mothers or working mothers should not exist.  Really it is Satan’s deceptive plan to undermine womanhood and motherhood in any form (see Revelations 12).  He wants to take away its value in any way possible.  And as a woman who values feminine power, I am determined that the evil one will not win.

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10 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this Robyn. I think all mothers are amazing. I’m so glad we have this gift. And you are right, Satan is the author of all wars, no matter what they are about.

  2. What a wonderful quote! I love that last line!! This idea of feminine self-revulsion is an interesting one in the feminist battle that seeks so often to masculinize us all. I love being a woman, having given birth or helped with that process, and “gotten well” in indecently short lengths of time! Awesome.

  3. I just got a movie from the library about the suffrage movement. I’m excited to learn more about the strong women who fought for women’s right to vote. It’s really too bad that all the choices that are now available to women have been a sort of curse and a blessing. Leave it to Satan to turn sisters against each other for choosing different roads. Ugh.

    • Robyn Reply

      Lani, the movie sounds interesting. What is the name of it? I would love to learn more too. I have a read a little bit about the early LDS women involved in it and impressed with their dedication.

      • It’s called Iron Jawed Angels. It has actresses depicting the events. I haven’t watched it yet, but I’ve heard it’s really powerful.

  4. Very cool & good point. Didn’t Stanton eventually, too, have to back away from her activism and focus more on raising her family? See, even women back then had to sacrifice their dreams (probably moreso!). And didn’t Susan B. Anthony get a bit annoyed with that? It’s been a long time since I’ve studied it, so I could be wrong. I always like Stanton, though, because she still had a family.

  5. Great post. I have a question: If women are empowered by a piece of writing or a speech, and motherhood is supported and respected in the process, is it still considered to be a feminist work?

    The reason I ask is because it seems that Relief Society does those things. Is the RS considered to be a feminist organization? I guess I am under the impression that it is not.

  6. Rocket, thank you for your question. I would say it could still be a feminist work if motherhood is supported and respected in the process but there are different kinds of feminists. I have noticed a newer wave of feminism that includes a respect for motherhood.

    I don’t feel like I really did the subject justice here. I really do want to eventually elaborate on my thoughts here. I have never really thought of RS as a feminist organization because my impressions of modern feminism have been that most feminists look down upon giving birth and mothering. But again, I do believe there is a new wave of feminism that is re-embracing true feminine power. In that sense, RS could be considered one of the most feminist organizations ever because of its support of women and motherhood whether a woman stays at home or works outside of the home. I guess it just depends on one’s definition of feminism. I will have to ponder that more.

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