What If Jesus Had Gone to Daycare? by Katey Zeh

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As a maternal health advocate, I cherish the season of Advent as an opportunity to connect a beloved Christian story to the lives of women today who struggle to bring new life into the world under horrific circumstances. Every year I write something about Mary’s pregnancy and birth. In many ways she is no different from the “Marys” around the world who are young, poor, and unexpectedly pregnant, and who go on to give birth in unclean environments. I often pose the question to communities of faith, wasn’t the Christmas miracle equally that Mary survived the birth? How different would Jesus’s life have been if he’d never known his mother?

I continue asking these questions, but after my daughter was born last October, I have found my Advent reflections shifting to mirror my own parenting experiences. I began to think beyond Mary’s birth and into her early months of motherhood. One morning last December, after a particularly awful night’s sleep, I came downstairs to hear “Away in a Manger” playing on the radio. When it got to the line “But little Lord Jesus/No crying he makes,” I rolled my eyes dramatically and pictured Mary doing the same as she bounced a screaming baby Jesus in her arms. Continue reading “What If Jesus Had Gone to Daycare? by Katey Zeh”

The Politics of Being a Woman in a “Christian Nation” by Gina Messina-Dysert, Jennifer Zobair and Amy Levin

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The far right is pitting God against women. Mike Huckabee’s support for the decision to deny a 10-year-old rape victim an abortion is just another example in a long history that continues this election season.

At Fox News’ Republican Presidential debate in Cleveland, Jeb Bush boasted that, informed by his faith, he “defunded planned parenthood and created a culture of life in my state.” When Megyn Kelly asked Scott Walker if he would “really let a mother die rather than have an abortion,” he refused to temper his position that there should be no exceptions to his “pro-life” position.

Ted Cruz professed “God speaks to me every day through the scriptures and this informs my position on religious liberty, life, and marriage.” And Marco Rubio argued that even in the case of rape, women should not have the ability to make choices about their pregnancies. Sadly, such proclamations ignore individual rights, freedom of religion, and the fact that faith as a guiding principle can be dangerous when the foundational teachings of social justice are ignored. Continue reading “The Politics of Being a Woman in a “Christian Nation” by Gina Messina-Dysert, Jennifer Zobair and Amy Levin”

Taking leave: How did you do it and how did it go? Sara Frykenberg

Image sourced from here.
Image sourced from here.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been preoccupied this summer with many questions regarding pregnancy, becoming a mother, and how to mother while doing my “work” as a feminist. But next to my constantly changing physical reality and the anticipation of a new family member, the question of what to do about my actual work, aka, my occupation, has been most pressing—perhaps, because taking leave from my job is something I feel that I can (and must) do something about in a long list of factors that I cannot control. Despite the imperative to act, however, I had a great deal of trouble figuring out where to begin.

As a professor in Los Angeles, I know that I have the same legal rights as other Californian women. I am allowed to take (unpaid) leave. My employer cannot fire me for exercising this right. I cannot be denied employment, legally speaking, because of a pregnancy. And… yup, that’s about all I knew when I started considering what to do about work… which is to say, I had no idea, practically speaking, how to exercise my rights. Continue reading “Taking leave: How did you do it and how did it go? Sara Frykenberg”

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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