In our culture, motherhood is the culmination of womanhood: BEING A MOTHER MEANS BEING A WOMAN. (…) Women are socially conditioned to embrace motherhood as the maximum expression of their femineity. It, supposedly, is the path that a woman must follow if she is to live her life to the fullest. Women are assigned a mission: to have children. Women are taught a stereotyped role in life and are trained to play it, trained to grow up and become wives, mothers, housekeepers. A woman’s future is anatomically determined. Growing as an individual towards the future means having children and raising them. This biological destiny is hallowed by society; being a mother is an identity that carries social prestige and signifies, on a much deeper level, the capacity to love, to make sacrifices, to give oneself up entirely to another. “A mother is the most sacred of all things.”, “there’s nothing like a mother’s love”, “a mother’s love is unconditional”, “A mother comes first.” But, despite this reverence towards the mother figure, mothers must also bear the burden of the negatives: the frustrations, insecurities, fears and failures of their children. All the merit might be hers, but all the blame is as well. She will shoulder all the responsibility, receive all the criticism, suffer the punishment and be cruelly shunned by a society that is merciless to women who do not fulfill their mission according to what is expected of them.
Translated from: BLANCA VALLADARES. «Revisión teórica sobre los mitos de la maternidad». Publisher: Revista de Ciencias Sociales. Universidad de Costa Rica. nº 65, 1994. pp.67-68.