GMI: Why do we study motherhood?

Tingfan has been a GMI volunteer for some time, and she is very passionate about the value of motherhood, including to herself, a woman with a disability. She is thankful for the care of her mother — a woman who has looked after her and lost the opportunity to achieve her personal goals as a result.

Here, she hopes to share her views on motherhood through her own reading, research and thinking, in addition to her “meaningless daily work”. Her study will be divided into a series of short pieces, and the following is the first article in this series.

As a person with a disability, I needed to stay with my mother for many years due to the care I required.

For the first five years of my childhood, I was constantly in a rehabilitation hospital and came into contact with many children with special needs as well as their mothers. At the same time, I was born into a relatively large family, and from the intergenerational relationships of many mothers and daughters, I also felt the deep complexity of family relations.

For women who become mothers, I have always recognized a spontaneity among them, as if motherhood had made them more sensitive, resilient and knowledgeable. And this kind of emotional experience is something that men can never empathize with, because the process from giving birth to parenting naturally creates new experiences. Faced with the change of identity, women tend to get richer and more diverse experiences than men.

Growing up, the dual identity of being disabled and being a woman has brought me a lot of confusion. While feminist books don’t have all the answers and advice I need, the thought process is very meaningful.

Through reading, I gradually explored the causes of various problems and tried to accept and reconcile them. Unconsciously, I scrutinized my relationship with my mother, and more mother-daughter relationships around me.

I try to write down those observations as part of my research process.

I think writing is a very valuable activity — whether it is direct recording or secondary processing and creation, it’s a rebuilding process of our self-consciousness and subjectivity. If women insist on writing, eventually the words become part of the historic record. Unfortunately, the stories of female productivity have gradually declined since the demise of agrarian societies.

In the thoughts and literature regarding women’s movements, it seems that motherhood was never a mainstream topic, and the almost primal or subconscious strength of motherhood didn’t really get the attention it needed. If you search for that on numerous journal websites, you would probably get only a handful of articles.

The strength of motherhood can be reflected in different forms. When discussing this topic, “whether or not we choose to become a mother” deserves attention, while “what happens after becoming a mother” also has room and value for discussion.

Personally, I am a daughter who does not wish to be a mother and a committed feminist. I feel obligated to write about my mother and her power, as well as the power and strength of other mothers.

In a way, we are them, and they are us. I want more people to see and understand them, both as the individuals with different experiences and as the product of the age.

It can be said that the strength of motherhood is closely associated with the beginning of human experience of the world. It’s the source of inspiration for creation myths and the history that women have inherited from generation to generation. This power can make people realize the inner spirit of human beings and can also inspire them.

We do not sing the praises of motherly love, we only state the facts that have existed from the beginning.