Mother’s Day always comes in May, a celebration which seems as permanent as the cycle of the seasons. Yet, as our culture continues to fissure its very bedrock of self-understanding, it increasingly seems like the calendar will outlast the category of motherhood itself. May will always come—but when it does, will we still have mothers?
The question admits no easy, automatic answer. In our day, surrogate pregnancies and artificial insemination have separated the once-braided strands of marriage, sexual intimacy, and pregnancy; and, with the eugenic of gene editing and the selection of embryos on the basis of biological traits already migrating from the pages of science fiction and into the social fabric of the upper classes, the functions of reproduction have become almost entirely synthetic. Donated sperm, rented wombs, and designer children—to say nothing of adoption by couples who make no attempt to supply for a mother and father—constitute a “parallel economy” to parenthood and reproduction.
Womanhood itself has become a contested category. In its place, we now have the steady encroachment of state-enforced euphemisms which all take the form of self-explanatory riddles. We hear now about pregnant people, people with wombs, and people who bleed monthly, circumlocutions that bypass traditional terms and names to focus, instead, on body parts, conditions, functions. But the elaborate obviousness of these terms—much like the list of subjective, objective, and possessive pronouns, “she,” “her,” and “hers”—is precisely the point. “Women” and “mother” are being slowly and quietly obliterated; indeed, they are becoming painful riddles which have no answers, words which have been liquidated of any clear meaning.
For decades, the pro-life movement has watched as motherhood became thwarted at its beginning with abortion-on-demand and a concomitant contraceptive mentality that presented pregnancy as an inconvenience if not a malady. So too, mothers—and the women who should have been mothers—are preyed upon at the end of life through euthanasia; the women who delivered the burden of their wombs to give life to the world are now being pressured, in their senectitude, to see themselves as burdens unworthy of love and care and support. Now, dehumanizing technocratic innovations and the ideological chaos of the transsexual phenomenon have made womanhood and motherhood themselves targets of confusion and contestation.
But, as one Victorian novelist phrased it so memorably: “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children,” and so it remains. We need to defend motherhood, most of all, by celebrating our mothers and the high dignity of their unique—and uniquely valuable—vocation. Nothing on this earth compares to the love of a mother and her child; this Mother’s Day, we at The Interim wish all mothers—and all of the children of mothers—a warm and loving celebration of this honourable, incomparable, and irreplaceable role.