"You will be a better mom because you are a theologian, and a better theologian because you are a mom."

Is it true? In this blog, I explore the interplay and intersection of motherhood and theologianhood.

Monday, May 16, 2011

American Girl

Maia and I have been really enjoying reading the American Girls historical fiction books, which I've been picking up during library story hour on Wednesday. We finished all of Josefina and now are about half-way through the Molly series. We've also read the first books of Kirsten and Kit (but can't find any of the others at the library - must be checked out).

In each of the books, there is a little section at the end that gives a little history lesson on the time period. At the end of Happy Birthday, Molly!, we read about changes in birthing practices in the 1940s and the popularization of hospital births where infants were separated from their mothers and kept in a separate room where they were fed formula. Both of us thought that just seemed like a bad idea. "Whoever thought that would be a good thing?" I asked Maia.

"Why would they separate moms and babies?" she asked.

"Probably something to do with Enlightenment philosophy," I answered.

"What's that?" Maia asked with a puzzled expression on her face.

"Umm..." I paused. I had kind of said it without thinking. "You know, prizing the individual, as though persons somehow start off on their own, disconnected from family."

"Oh," she smiled.

"Well, you and I both know that people generally start off connected to people; they are born into a family, not as disconnected individuals. It would take an adult male to come up with that stuff, as it is completely different than the experience of a five year old girl." Maia looked like she might understand what I was saying, even if she didn't know anything about Enlightenment philosophy.

One thing I like about the American Girl books is the way they really emphasize family and social structures. Josefina, a Spanish (and Catholic) girl in New Mexico, is a particularly good model of this. Now if we can just avoid the "doll" issue...


DLD said...

Good post. Amy Laura Hall has done some work (I think some of it shows up in _Conceiving Parenthood_) on formula-feeding as very much a symptom of increasing (and ridiculously blind) faith in technology (surely we can invent a formula that's better than breastmilk, right?). Certainly that's part of the whole Enlightenment trajectory....

Theologian Mom said...

I've been meaning to take a look at that book... I can definitely see a connection with the Enlightenment and faith in technology. C-sections fit with this too, I think.