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The Vulnerability of Mothering

My life, like that of others, is a full-spectrum experience--from joy and success to grief and worry. I have been thinking, this week especially, of the vulnerability inherent in mothering. When a child is born or joins a family through adoption, the magnitude of responsibility accepted by a parent is immense. When those parents live privileged lives by virtue of socioeconomic status, membership in the cultural majority, and so on, they are able to fulfill those responsibilities with less challenge. When they live less privileged lives, the challenges may be great--or insurmountable. It really does take a village to raise a child. Without that village, mothers and fathers may be able to do nothing about accessing medical care, clean water, food, and educational resources for their children. If those who are over-privileged do not share that wealth and privilege, all the world's children suffer. When the policies and practices of one nation have the power to impact the lives of families half a world away, our village becomes global. Because of this reality, each of us has a responsibilty for the well being of the world's children. And, while we can only do so much, we can do something, somehow, somewhere, sometime to help.

Food for thought: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack
by Peggy McIntosh at

Cynthia Good Mojab
Director, LifeCircle Counseling and Consulting, LLC


Rebecca's picture

Community Action

Lots of thought-provoking things in this post. Thanks!

Just to add something, I think it's also really important to recognize that just because a community is privileged differently doesn't mean that community is lacking a 'village.' After all, sustainable change and activism is happening everywhere, espeically in groups of women and mothers.

The thought of a global village is definitely inspirational! As long as, I think, we realize that each global villager is already speaking for herself, and creating change for herself and with her local and global community.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! There is certainly the risk of ethnocentric and status-centric thinking when trying to fulfill one's role in our world village. It's not that a socioeconomically underprivileged community needs "rescuing" from those who are overprivileged. It's that just (as in, fair) sharing and respectful collaboration are needed between and within communities. Sometimes relief efforts--with the best of intentions--can come in with plans to "help" a community--without even taking the time to build bridges with that community and find out what they really need. The first step should always be conversation and collaboration. Otherwise, the "relief" may recreate oppression when true sharing was intended.

Cynthia Good Mojab
Director, LifeCircle Counseling and Consulting, LLC

Rebecca's picture


Yes! Three cheers for conversation and collaboration!

Julie L's picture

Excellent post and follow-up

Excellent post and follow-up comment, Cynthia! The Peggy McIntosh piece is a useful tool that has real relevance for PulseWire members who work to educate white middle- to upper-class Americans about their privilege in the world, a privilege which has been so normalized in the dominant white, middle-class culture. Once these Americans see their privilege, they do need to make sure to avoid "rescuing," as you say so eloquently!

Gene's picture

How Fortunate We Are

Here in Silicon Valley we have the best of most things. At the age of 76 I have seen many things. I certainly appreciate what I have when I look at the world.

There has been such a spectacular change in the world and I want to still be part of it. My hope is the PulseWire will, as desired, become a global community.

This is no time to ignore the rest of the world which is becoming global so fast. My main way of helping to change things right now is to keep up my blog. The motto of the blog is Love Globally, Act Locally.

Take a look at it: Marianist Resources

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on the vulnerability of mothering and the importance--and challenges--of participating in our global village!

Cynthia Good Mojab
Director, LifeCircle Counseling and Consulting, LLC

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