Today’s ideal of motherhood requires that we give birth in pain, without benefit of an epidural, since this robs us of our first act as a mother.
We are enjoined to nurse for six months, a year, or longer, day and night, whenever our child wishes, regardless of the mother’s situation.
We are advised to practice co-sleeping, at the risk of sending numerous fathers to the sofa. The good mother who wants the best for her child is urged to forswear processed baby food, which is eyed as a health hazard, and to avoid daycare as injurious to her child’s healthy development.
With all of its demands, the naturalist ideal of the 21st century means that it takes a woman as much time and energy to raise two children as our grandmothers spent raising four.