great women and tragic mothers

I heard a radio interview the other day with an acclaimed woman artist. I can’t remember her name, but I remember her voice. She was British, I think. A big time british artist who at one point in her interview began talking about the lack of GREAT (capital “G”) artists who are women.

The reason for this she said is because so many women have children. Children, she said, in so many words, divert ambition. They prevent women from ever becoming like male artists. To this, the interviewer mentioned something of her choice to end each of her unplanned pregnancies. And to this she said, “yes,” she had abortions because she was not meant to be a mother. She was meant to be an artist. No, not just any artist, but a great artist. Mothers, she said, are nurturing and must direct all their energies to their children.

A tragedy. Having children, then, as she seemed to put it, is a tragedy.

I get this argument. Or, I once got this argument. I used to think that children held women back from true greatness, diverted their paths, and changed their life’s directions…for the worse.

Mothers are tragic.

I thought this until I became a mother.

Motherhood has changed me, but I am more passion-filled now with children. My children have filled something for me that I didn’t know needed to be filled. They have given my life meaning. They have changed my steps, yes, but they guided me to better places, unimagined places that I don’t think I’d have gotten to without them.

Mothers are not tragic.

I would like to tell this to the artist, to become a mother does not that you’ve missed out on GREATNESS. Greatness is found in unexpected places, and if you allow it, motherhood can lead you to that path if your eyes are open enough to see.


I wish I could include a clip of the interview, but I don’t have the time. But, I’d like to know your thoughts. What do you think of the argument that motherhood kills ambition?

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2 Responses to great women and tragic mothers

  1. insomniamom says:

    I am in shock over that interview and totally agree with you. Motherhood has changed me but much more for the better

  2. Jessica says:

    Same here! I wish and hope that this message gets out to all women contemplating motherhood. I hope that women can choose to or not to have children because they want to, not out of fears over what motherhood could mean to their passions.

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