When I grew up, motherhood in my agricultural community meant a lot of things: you were married, you were a stay-at-home mom, you cooked and cleaned, attended all the school conferences for your children, and participated in making outfits for school plays and events. My mother was expected to be a super-woman. The second wave feminist movement began to change many things about motherhood and the myth or social rules that surrounded it. I remember a book called “Our Bodies, Our Selves.” Reading it was the first time I realized I had options in raising children. I could breastfeed or not, I could choose to have children or not. I had options not available to my mother. I could use birth control, or use the Lamaze method of birth. Roe vs. Wade had won my generation the right to decide. I wonder, did all of this really change being a mother? Can we really re-frame motherhood? As mothers, we are still expected to teach values, morals and social grace. The hope, the sorrow, the joy, the tears, the fights, the hugs, and the butterfly kisses. When I grew up I realized, yes our generation made some very big changes; we taught our daughters to love their bodies, to dream, and become whatever they wanted. Yet in the end Motherhood still means, long hours, sleepless nights and unpaid labor. Or does it?
BIO: About Dorothy (Sue) Laqua: I am a 51-year-old woman who is currently attending Minnesota State – Mankato and will be receiving my BS in Gender and Women Studies. I have worked in the human services field all of my life with Developmentally Delayed and Mentally Ill clientele. I earn a master’s degree in my field of study with an emphasis on Ethnic Studies, and would like to work in a reentry program for women who have been incarcerated. I believe these women are the most marginalized in our society, and understand that they are stuck in a revolving door with no way out of poverty. Many of them are mothers who have little chance of rejoining their family and making it safe. I know that being a mother and a feminist can sometimes be at separate ends of the spectrum as we try to protect our daughters and in the same breath give them the freedoms of choice and equality. I have 4 children, and two step-children. I fostered two grandchildren and helped raise three young multi-cultural women. I also have seven grandchildren to complete my family. My husband and I live in a small agricultural community and spend a great deal of time volunteering by helping older persons or persons with disabilities.