Mama Partridge by Sara Wright


I would like to think that there are not many women out there who have had a mother like mine, but I am sure there are more. It is often hard to break the silence of abuse, especially when it is so severe. After I finished this poem I felt guilty – like I had done something wrong… a wonderful aspect of aging is that we begin to see through the ruses and I knew my feelings were temporary.

The Woman Who Birthed Me Was Not My Mother

Dedicated to the Abandoned Child in Myself, a child that suffered what Indigenous peoples call Susto or Soul Loss. This state occurs when abuse is so severe the soul of a baby cannot incarnate in its own body, but hovers around it in a disembodied state. The only way to heal this wound is to be embraced and loved by family…

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Healing Uphill

These are trying times for all sentient beings. We are all carrying the intensity and stress in our bodies and spirits. I feel it. You feel it. In fact, we are feeling it together—sharing an experience even though interpreting and understanding it in our own unique ways. 

As a person of faith, I believe we are on a collective healing journey. As a feminist, I believe that journey continues to involve extended uphill challenges because of intersecting systems of oppression.  And that is how I understand this particular moment in time—a healing journey in a difficult uphill section on the path. As a human collective we are healing uphill. 

Healing uphill can feel like too much to bear sometimes. Healing uphill is the experience of having more and more challenges heaped on your back when you are already tired and struggling to keep going. Healing uphill is like trying to take care of yourself when you lose your job in a global pandemic and one of your kids gets sick and your landlord tells you that you are late on your rent and then your spouse comes home angry and blames you for all the stress and, well… you get the picture. Healing uphill is when you can’t seem to catch a break and things seem to just keep getting worse.  

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Black Sheep by Carol P. Christ

black-lambAt Thanksgiving and the solstice holidays many of us are reminded that we are the “black sheep” of our families.  In my case this means that I am too “assertive,” too “aggressive,” too “demanding,” too “political,” too “willing to upset my father,” too “opinionated,” too “feminist,” and so on.

“In the English language, black sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family. The term stems from the genetic effect in sheep whereby a recessive gene occasionally manifests in the birth of a sheep with black rather than white coloring; these sheep stand out in the flock [emphasis added] and their wool was traditionally considered less valuable.” (Wikepedia, “Black Sheep”)

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Protecting our Families: How the U.S. Falls Short in Protecting New Mothers (and Fathers) by Michele Stopera Freyhauf

Freyhauf, Feminism, Religion, Durham, Old Testament, Blogger, Bible, Gender, Violence, Ursuline, John CarrollLast weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at the National Convention for American Mothers, Inc. about motherhood in the 21st Century.  Because this is such a vital issue for mothers that live in the U.S. (since a large majority of families have two full-time wage earners), I thought it would be appropriate to share my speech here.  With the understanding that this a forum for feminism, I believe that this topic fits this forum because it continues to show how unequal the treatment is between the sexes – whether it is pay, position in employment, healthcare, education, or simply balancing the responsibilities of family/career.  For those that live in the United States, there is often a sense of exceptionalism, and as I clearly demonstrate in this speech, we are certainly a far cry from being role models that when it comes to protecting mothers (whether by birth or adoption) and families.

As a side note:  One topic that was not explored, due to lack of data, is how maternity/paternity leave impacts same sex couples who become new parents – I have to believe that this is a topic to also examine (and I am would encourage any feedback here).  

Recently the United States ranked 25 out of 165 countries for being the best place to live if you are a mother.  This number is up from 31 a year ago and places us between Belarus and the Czech Republic.

You may be asking yourself, Why isn’t the United States in the top five or even in the top ten? The answer to that question becomes evident once we examine how that determination is made. The categories examined are:

  • Mother’s education;
  • Child’s Health;
  • Economic status;
  • The Election of women to government office;
  • Breast feeding programs.  In the United States 75% of mothers breastfeed their babies, 35% continue to breastfeed after six weeks. The number shrinks because mothers usually return to work and find it difficult to to pump at the office;
  • Maternal death rate is another factor, which stunned me when I found out that the US has the highest maternal death rate of any industrialized nation. Approximately 1 in 2,100 women are at risk of dying during child birth;
  • Infant death rates is another category.  Infant deaths are estimated to be 8 per 1000 births – a number that throws us behind 40 other countries;
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