To be honest, ever since the birth of my first child two-and-a-half years ago, my politics have been all over the place. On one issue, I’ve taken two steps to the right. On another, I’ve taken ten steps to the left. I don’t always know where, exactly, I align myself politically. Has my new position made more fair and open-minded, or fierce and protective? I’m not sure I always know.
I do know that my heart doubled in size the second my baby entered the world. If a change as significant as bringing a new human into the world won’t cause your political mindset to shift a little, then I don’t know what will. I also know that having a baby allowed/forced me to step outside of myself to an extent I didn’t know I was capable of.
In a recent episode of the Brian Lehrer show called “Motherhood and Politics,” the host explores this topic with Jill Greenlee, an assistant professor of politics and Brandeis University. Along with a handful of callers—men and women—the two hash out why and how motherhood (parenthood?) alters one’s political compass.
But in the comments, the topic seems to be whether or not motherhood should alter one’s politics. Comments include questions like, “How can you be a “lifelong” liberal and then change – apparently you weren’t to begin with or you’re now dead,” and another: “This piece Illustrates how self-centred a species we are, and how our natural empathy is discouraged from our childhood. Why on earth should having children, marriage or bereavement change your political philosophy?”
Apparently people feel as fiercely about not letting your reproductive status alter your politics as I do about motherhood, in general. But what about you? Did becoming a mother change your political compass? And do you think it should?
Listen to the entire story on WNYC here.