Book review: Philosophy from real mothers

By Anita Matthews, published in ParenThots, The Star, April 3, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: MOTHERHOOD - PHILOSOPHY FOR EVERYONE
The birth of wisdom
Edited by Sheila Lintott
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

MotherhoodThe word “philosophy” drew me to Sheila Lintott’s compilation of essays written by academics (women mainly) on motherhood. Marrying motherhood and philosophy is akin to mixing oil with water. You can moralise the joys and pains of motherhood to the ends of the Earth and still end up at the crossroads where the journey first started.

But this book was an awesome read. I loved it! Even though I had cast a wary eye on first sight, these philosophical ponderings were engaging, honest and warm. The writers challenged their belief systems both hypothetically and theoretically. They unpicked, scrutinised and discussed their deepest convictions and fears openly. They squared the ideas of famed philosophers such as Aristotle, Kant, Descartes and even Job of the Old Testament against their personal experiences to deconstruct what makes a mother. And, that is refreshing.

Many a time, philosophical discussions tend to be indulgent and are self-fulfilling prophesies of what is sought or challenged in the hypothesis. This set of essays did more.

Clearly within the pages of Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone, the presence of a child in the mix had had a humbling effect on a majority of the writers. I think all mothers – upon hindsight – do realise that they have lost some control over their lives (and offspring) during the early years following childbirth. I don’t see that to be a setback but simply a reality of choices made.

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