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Marriage and motherhood: natural destiny, duty, gift? 13
Motherhood, which is a woman’s biological function, has been enshrined in social precepts and cultural attitudes as a natural destination, duty, and sacred duty to the family and society. In addition, motherhood is often problematized as a social function, personal experience, pedagogical tool, etc. It is known that career, motherhood, and happiness are diverse concepts and are difficult to match in terms of everyday consciousness and specific sociology.
Few women manage to realize these qualities at the same time.
In the USSR, motherhood was an undoubted social merit; the state encouraged him, supported and rewarded him. In the last decade, the maternity monument collapsed. On its wreckage a woman was left alone with her problems. But its social cost is still high. Who pays for this unique opportunity - motherhood?
Female Kazakh women of Almaty of different ages and professions were in our research field. The stories they told were built according to the plan that we proposed during the oral interview. The conclusions we reached during the study are as follows.
Maternity is currently a problematic but unconditional value for women. The degree of awareness of the success of fate, its realization is always and unequivocally associated with the implementation of the maternal function. Successful motherhood excuses almost everything: failure in the extra-family sphere, lack of professional status. However, a successful career does not justify, does not legitimize immateriality.
The problematic nature of motherhood today is due, first of all, to economic difficulties. Economic lack of freedom is a defining obstacle to voluntary and conscious motherhood. The impossibility of motherhood is extremely acute for women, much more acute than the impossibility of marriage.
The first story. Self-justification
This woman is a typical married middle-class woman. Perhaps the only thing in which it was realized was motherhood. She is forty-five years old, a Kazakh woman, has three daughters and a grandson. It is important to note that, being from a family of Russified Kazakhs, she married a southerner, which means her commitment to conservative-patriarchal traditions.
As a specialist, she did not take place: the choice of the profession of a teacher of the French language was determined by chance, at a low competition when entering a university. Studying was never her priority interest. She early arranged a personal life, having married in love for a peer, a Kazakh, as her parents wanted. Then she realized that she was mistaken in choosing a specialty, but did not begin to change her profession in her student years, and then: family, children, life. Together with her husband, she entered graduate school to "achieve something." After an unsuccessful completion of graduate school, she continued to teach at the institute, experiencing growing dissatisfaction. The staff reduction that began at the institute was a chance for her to change her fate, she went to work in the company.
The unstructured nature of her desires is manifested substantively in the uncertainty and unarticulated aspirations: the phrases “achieve something”, “I wanted to go into the business”, without determining what exactly she wanted to do — all these are signs of her insolvency, her immaturity as a professional. Difficult circumstances of life - the second justifying argument:
“It was hard for me to raise children, stoke the stove and run to graduate school. I thought, let my husband make a career, let him be the first to defend himself, and I can take all this burden on myself: stove heating, a cold apartment, and young children, and graduate school. What are some thoughts about a career! ”
Delicacy, restraint in assessments, first of all, of elders (parents - their own and husband), a desire to play a certain role with dignity present the type of the right Kazakh daughter-in-law. The justification of our own insignificance as a failed person and a cheated wife is repeated more often in our heroine:
“A woman should give society good children. I raised them. My children are good, reliable. My husband admits that it is my merit, therefore he respects me. I analyzed my life, trying to understand why my husband was cheating on me. Maybe I was a bad wife. Still, he did not leave me, yet he loves me. Even knowing that he was cheating on me, I forgave him. I remained his faithful wife. And he appreciates it. I believe that you need to be a patient woman. I loved all his life only him. These male weaknesses must be forgiven somewhere. The man himself will figure it out. If the wife is some kind of bitch, then nothing will stop him. I realized that even children cannot hold men. ”
“I think that my husband’s betrayal was nevertheless the result of raising my son in the traditions of the South, where everything is allowed to the husband and nothing to the wife.”
So, marital fidelity for her is the highest moral quality of a wife and woman. She immediately abandoned the friend who was cheating on her husband. The quality that she would like to convey to her daughters is fidelity to the family.
Despite the freedom and the set of alternatives provided to her by both her family and circumstances, this woman was unable to resist the power of gender traditionalism. The price for this is a significant loss of personality, unhappiness in personal life and lack of social status.
The second story. Dislike
This is the story of a woman who was fatally unlucky: she is an unloved daughter, given up to raising her relatives and married without love. The only strong Platonic feeling for a man experienced by her in her youth left an imprint on her whole life, strengthened her dislike of her husband and became an indirect cause of divorce. Motherhood for her is not just an excuse for unfulfilled personal aspirations, in particular, a career, but a measure of all female qualities.
If the first story is about a woman’s self-justification of her own worthlessness through motherhood, then here is more likely melancholy, universal sadness about unrealized love for a man. About how this feeling has not let go for decades.
So, a young woman of 54 years old, very elegant, feminine, "oriental beauty", which is always paid attention to on the street. Primary school teacher. The mother of two adult daughters and the grandmother of two grandchildren. After a divorce, she lives alone for 15 years.
The experience of family life is assessed by her as very difficult and dramatic. Unprepared for marriage, brought up by an idealist, at the age of 19 she hastily marries an officer who takes her to the Far East. The reason for marrying just this person was the desire to study at the institute, and full-time (before that she had not entered the medical institute and studied at the teacher training school). Beauty and youth - the main consumer properties that she possessed as a bride, were given to the "old" (emphasized age difference - "six and a half years") and unattractive, but for some reason enjoying success with women, man. It would seem a classic mesalliance, but ...
From the first day of marriage in the life of the heroine, violence reigned.
“The first night was terrible, just creepy. He got drunk drunk. And what does a drunk man mean ... Therefore, maybe, in the end, the imprint in family life affected that I, I never had a desire. Even as an adult woman, while studying at the institute, I dreamed of only one thing, so that he would fall asleep faster.
Already two children, already adult children, and all sorts of excuses so that he would only fall asleep. ”
The absence of feelings, sympathy, warmth towards her husband - such is her reckoning for a marriage of convenience.
"He always asked me:" Do you love me? " I always asked. I reply: “It’s you who got sick, probably. Is it, I say, the main thing? The main thing is our children. ” “At first, no mutual understanding. I really wanted affection. Not physical. Mental ”.
For an undisguised dislike, he paid her treason, petty, indiscriminately, humiliating for her.
“I was dragged into the toilet, a female major, I considered 30 years old, quite an old woman, and said:“ Your husband and I were sleeping. ” How did it feel to hear that? I just cried. Cried ... I could not share with anyone ... "
Where there is no love, its imitation remains. By demanding socially acceptable behavior from him, she frees him from manifesting true feelings even in a private setting.
“He himself said that he loved, was jealous. We had a family friend - a Tatar, which I really liked, I met him in Ussuriysk. Apparently, this was the first and only love that did not take place. And I only twelve years later, when I came here, I realized that he loves me. And he told this to my husband and his wife that he loves me. ”
Memories of unfulfilled love are still very strong.
“Later I thought, God, what a pair we would be with him! Unfulfilled love ... Even now I regret that I ... At least see again, just see! We met with him after many years, he is already gray-haired, tall, handsome ... Again, again I have feelings. That my children will remain, I say, I can’t take such a step. I have two children, and his wife is sick. ”
But family life with an unloved husband continues. And in the 16th year of marriage, she begins to realize that all her efforts to reeducate and improve her husband were not in vain. She gradually gets used to the idea that her husband loves her.
After the divorce, disappointment comes to her: “It is very difficult to be alone, yet when you are a beautiful woman, it is very difficult to be alone. And a terrible insult when they say, yes, it’s dispersed, like the one that was abandoned. Here, they say, beautiful, but abandoned ... "
The family held on thanks to the strong belief that children should have a father. So, without love and mutual understanding, not having realized herself professionally, a woman releases all spiritual energy for raising her daughters, whom she is proud of as a result. She managed to educate them in the spirit of independence, so that they would not rely on her husband, but had “their own, a good piece of bread”.
“A woman must all achieve her - position, career - everything until marriage, and then you must completely surrender to the child, for some nth, certain time, and there everything must be combined. Still, do not forget about yourself. Because the husband is today - tomorrow he is not. Where is the warranty? The main thing a woman needs is for her to stand firmly on her feet. And secondly, this is a family. Very nice family. "Is there any trouble at work so that she comes home, there is someone to rely on."
When asked when she lived for herself, the woman replied: "For herself ... Probably not at all." At the same time he remarks: “It would be as if a general in a skirt would leave me.”
The third story. Involuntary childlessness
The last decade has introduced new ideas about life in general, including marriage and motherhood. There are more and more women who want to have a child out of wedlock, out of a relationship with a man. True, there are a number of obstacles to such motherhood: public opinion, state of health, lack of a close man at the moment, lack of time, unwillingness to interrupt a career as a source of subsistence. In this story, it is the last reason that does not allow a woman to experience the happiness of motherhood.
She is a DJ (presenter of music programs) on the radio station, Kazakh woman, 35 years old, single, no children.
“For me, the very concept of“ making a career ”,“ my career ”means simply incarnating in the context of time, expressing oneself in a very fashionable,“ poppy ”context. If a person makes a career, then he lives in full view, too visible. And his whole path is traceable and available to the attention of people who follow him. Moreover, the business that I do involves the audience and work for her, and my response. At one time, I entered the theater institute and, of course, I intended to express myself very vividly, even assumed a certain share of fame. By youth, after all, we all, especially people who choose such universities, have the ambition that we need. ”
Job satisfaction, awareness of the adequacy of desires, ambitions and reality are a rather rare occurrence in the described female stories. Here is obvious luck for the researcher. A completely sincere expression of enthusiasm, dedication, buzz from the process of communicating with listeners through music, the apparent lack of routine is inherent in the music presenter.
“You get so much energy from music, you work with such ephemeral, beautiful material, which is slightly higher than such heavy, heavy things. They ask: Is it not difficult? - Of course not! Everyone can press buttons, but to be a DJ - a pilot in the good sense of the word ... "
However, more and more often she finds herself thinking that everything does not make sense compared to the fact that she wants a child.
“But he must somehow appear, he cannot materialize out of nowhere, it takes time. If you can give birth in youth because it happened, then over time you understand that you cannot afford it, you cannot find the time, you cannot find the opportunity, or it seems to you that you already have some health problems .
The whole point of life for both men and women is to give birth to it. Only the whole problem is that you have to constantly stay afloat, on the wave, you go over all the time - go over your legs, you go all the time, you go, you go ... And in this endless campaign you need to find a moment for conception, for bearing , in order to give birth, and then raise a child. "
The helplessness of the inability to solve this problem, especially economically (if there was money, you could hire a nanny, governess, etc.) leads the heroine to despair on the verge of hysteria. This manifests itself in the form of a manic passion for an unborn baby. It is not easy to identify the degree of experience of failed motherhood in the performance of such an exalted creative nature. The impossibility of maternal happiness becomes the reason for the theatricalization of affect.
“But everything is already acquiring a little small mania. I want a child, I dream about him, I see him, I dream about him! I dream about it ... I can imagine everything perfectly. I can communicate with him, talk with him, despite the fact that he is small, I think how smart he is, how unusual he is. I just want a baby! ”
In my opinion, the true reason for such an expressive representation of this woman is the lack of real career growth in her work on the radio. And motherhood remains a pipe dream, a mirage in the harsh world of competition, unemployment, and poverty.
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Marriage and motherhood: natural destiny, duty, gift? 13
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