Today, I had cause to reflect on the topic of women who should not have been mothers – at least, not at the time that they became mothers, or in those circumstances, or with that partner. (Or lack thereof.)
I thought about the fact that really, if a country has a bit of a cult around motherhood, as Costa Rica certainly does, that respect for motherhood demands respect for women on all levels. Because if you truly love motherhood and all it involves, then you must be passionate about all the ingredients and steps and twists of fate that go into a woman’s path towards that status: her safety, her education, her physical and mental health, her ability to plan her family, her economic rights. And you must be equally passionate about all the ingredients and steps and twists of fate that go into a woman’s path towards not having children.
Seems pretty obvious. But if I went through the streets proclaiming this through a megaphone, I don’t think I’d be met with an unanimous roar of approval. Not the way I would if I stuck to the script, which is, “My mother sacrificed everything for me, and my greatest aspiration is to do the same for my own little girl.”
Women in Costa Rica have, without any doubt, been perhaps the biggest sub-topic of this yearlong blog. Women athletes, women artisans, women leaders and entrepreneurs. Women who have been cut down in their prime. Women who speak out.
In this last full month of the Daily Boost, I hope to zero in once more on this topic. It’s a good month for it, August. It starts with a pilgrimage to see a tiny Virgin Mary discovered by a young girl, and is punctuated right in the middle by Mother’s Day. What better month to prod a bit further at the ways in which the country lives up to its love of motherhood by uplifting and supporting women – as I have often felt uplifted and supported during this period of working at home with my daughter sometimes at my elbow? What better month to continue examining the ways in which it tosses that love of motherhood aside?
As always, I love hearing from you. If you know a Costa Rican woman who deserves shouting out this month, please tell me about it. As we near the end here, I’m eager to keep sharing information about a group of people I’m so proud to be near, and whose challenges, despite so much progress, remain ever complex.
I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; learn how to join my Overwhelmed Writers’ League, every Saturday at 1 pm EST; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! To learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.