The Maternal Bond – Part 6 – Conclusion

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By Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.
Dec 3, 2004, 11:18

Summary: The Maternal Bond was originally published in the American Journal of Family Law, and is serialized here at by special arrangement with the author.

1992 (c) Anne P. Mitchell, Stanford Law School
Published in: American Journal of Family Law, Volume 9, Number 3, Fall, 1995

Part 6

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VI. Conclusion

The birth of a wanted child is a wondrous and joyful event. Being a parent can be a very fulfilling and rewarding experience. So can closing a big business deal, arguing a case successfully, and being on the receiving end of delivering a baby. With the exception of the act of birth, both men and women can take part in any, or all, of these activities to an equal degree.

Unfortunately, many factors have conspired to place the burden of childcare squarely on the shoulders of women, while at the same time subverting their ability to pursue an education, a career, or some other life goal. These factors share a common origin: the continued elevation of the mother-child bond to an almost deified status.


For generations women have fought for the right to make choices about the paths which they will take, and to throw off the mantle of oppression which relegated women to the kitchen and the nursery. Slowly, but surely, men have started to come around. But now a new breed of maternalists, many of them feminists of note, have come forward to take their place, and women are once again finding themselves choosing between a career and fulltime motherhood. This choice is a non-choice, both because it is coerced and not a choice made by free will, and because it binds women back into the very dependency on men which they fought for so long to be free of.

Only by freeing women of their maternal bonds, and allowing them to provide for their children in their own way, according to their own balance of career and caretaking, will they be able to become truly independent and self-sufficient. And only then will women be able to avoid post-divorce poverty, and achieve economic freedom.

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