Theorizing Motherhood

Human procreation is a complex subject. Progenitors themselves and their offspring comprise a vast category. Yet neutral language is not the familiar territory of individuals and couples hoping to start families. That language involves words imbued with sentimental attachments. Even in advanced feminist, philosophical, psychological, and sociological texts, English language’s simplest nouns are laden with innuendo and subjective interpretation. We use words like mother, father, and children, which are non-specific labels for nuanced, poetically and romantically infused terms that evoke different things for different people. This theoretical symbolism is my attempt to disengage value-enhanced rhetoric so that we might better understand the subjects we are attempting to construe. This perspective aims to level hierarchal constructions and provide the basis for an examination into an area that can be difficult to logically discern.

My theory spells out a few of the ways which we might dissect motherhood more objectively, not because I do not recognize the social, psychological, and biological significance of gestation, and the profound transformative qualities of birth, and child-rearing, but because we do not engage in a unified language that helps us orient ourselves to the topics we wish to investigate. For the purposes of this examination I am identifying genetic material makers as “M”, “F” and “O” respectively.

The “M” may not be the primary ongoing source. The “M” source may only 1) provide genetic material, 2) optionally provide the womb-container 3) provide care giving (optional). However all humans must initially be formed from “M” and “F” (genetic material). “M” may also receive (a) assistance M(a) in the case of IVF or womb implantation. Although in the case of womb implantation “M” and “F” material may or may not be used. In simple language we are talking about 1) genetic mothers (who contribute but do or do not carry their genetic material), 2) birth mothers (who may or may not contribute their own genetic material. Newer experiments on mitochondria’s may include three source donors. (ASK BKR?). “O” symbolizes the other/embryo/infant and may be gestated or birthed by “M” or “W(m) Womb mother.” “O” may or may not be assisted as in the case of “O(a)” (where surgical procedures aid in O’s construction), and may or may not be genetically related to “C” (caregiver).

All symbols represent a non-value (hierarchical) inherent (or laden) starting place. All symbols manifest variables. We will not impart an inherent value in those either. Just as we do not say it is “better” or preferable or valuable to be a green apple or a red apple. Both are apples. They just exhibit different aspects of appledom — they are varied conditions or states of being. All Os and O(a)s currently adhere to nature’s law of gestation (M) and insemination (F), and require both at this time of writing (Sept. 2014). Except in the case of cloning which is currently not being done on humans?

Container Theory

M= Maker (Mother), genetic material

M(a) = Maker assisted; IVF

M(c) = Maker (Mother) Caregiver

M(a)(c)  = Maker assisted IVF, Caregiver

F= Facilitator (Father), genetic material

F(c) = Facilitator (Father) Caregiver

O= Offspring; child

O (a) = Offspring; child + assisted mitochondrial

W= Womb Container i.e.: Surrogate, or W(m) carrying someone else’s genetical material or M (c)  Maker/Caregiver

C = Caregiver. The ones who provide: food, shelter, love, socialization, etc.

E = Enhanced mitochondrial (what else?)

Every child is M + F


M(a) + F


Cloning = Mm, Ff, Oo  (experimental)


Artificial Womb =  W + O (experimental)

or M + F gestated by a W(m) (Womb mother)

What if the baby makes the mother or father, rather than the mother or father making the baby? It is only through the manifestation of the gestation that one can identify the genetic contributors.

O represents Offspring from material contributors (M & F)

O(a) represents Offspring from assisted source(s): mitochondrial

O must gestate in w (m)

O can be cared for by (M) or (F)

This equation makes the container value or aspect ( W )significant because it is the only variable that is not interchangeable with F & M or than their respective genetic contributions. ( W ) can harbor O or O(a)

M & F both contribute genetic material

M & F both can participate in one or more aspects of O or O(a)

The womb/container theory is problematic, because feminists do not want to be reduced to a “container identity.”


Zena is a woman. She has a period. She spends most of her life trying not to get pregnant. Then, she wants to get pregnant, or she has an “accident.”

Men cannot get pregnant.

Men can only contribute genetic material. A value of (1)

A woman is a necessary contributor of genetic material, and the container for which that material gestates. A value of (2)

Does this mean women have more “value” when it comes to reproduction?

It could be argued, yes. Since women bring twice the value to the equation.

(See biology charts)

I welcome feedback on this. Please write me here or:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s