How Motherhood Works

Author's Note

After writing the final paragraphs of How Motherhood Works, I initially worried that I had just painted a downright worst-case-scenario of how being a mother affects women. From the get-go, pregnancy and childbirth are tough on the body. Pre- and postpartum hormonal fluctuations take a toll on the psyche. Then after the birthing is over, all of the directives about how to be the best parent possible emotionally exhaust today's time-strapped mother.

But once I reflected on the sum total of the research, I realized that while motherhood is a physically, mentally and emotionally daunting prospect, there's a radiant silver lining to it. The fact that women's brains and figures are literally built to take on what some refer to as the hardest job in the world is scientifically phenomenal. Strip away the cultural constructs and gender-biased baggage of what motherhood should look like, and you have an incredible biological feat. And that's all the more reason to consider motherhood not so much as a role, but a unique strength and breathtaking possibility.

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