Advantages And Disadvantages of Being a Mother: Opinion Essay

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Women are the most beutiful creations on earth. They have the ability to carry a human child inside of them and birth them into the world. They are able to produce milk. Their bodies endure an excruciating amount of pain. They satisfy a man’s needs and provides him with a family. With womanhood also comes struggles. Not having equal rights as men, being sexualized, having to make sacrifices, putting yourself last, being vulnerable, trying to be the perfect wife and mother. The Struggles of womanhood, a common theme shared between the two stories “The Husband Stitch”, by Carmen Maria Machado and “Whisper to a Scream”, by Nafissa Thompson-Spires. As a woman, you are set to a standard by society; expected to be seen as submissive, attractive, and nurturing just to name a few. Being a woman you go through many struggles and sometimes have to make sacrifices, not just for you, but your family. No matter your race, success, or marital status as a woman you will face many different struggles, whether it be just as a woman in general, a mother, or a wife. Both stories address many struggles women face.

The Husband Stitch is about a teen girl who ends up meeting a boy at a party who she knew she would marry one day. She has a green ribbon around her neck and the boy wants to touch it but she doesn’t let him. They end up getting married and even then he is still curious about her ribbon. She gets pregnant and they have a boy. After her delivery she gets the husband stitch. As he grows she tells him stories throughout his life. The narrator is a story teller so throughout the story we read about folklore in her version that is mostly based off of a woman’s experience. Towards the end her husband continues to try and touch the ribbon and she soon allows him to take it off. Her head falls off and she dies.

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In The Husband Stitch you get to see her becoming a woman, mother, and wife. Some of the struggles she faces are going through birth/body changes, raising a son, and marriage.Sacrifices is the most common struggle of this story. Becoming a mother is She has made a sacrifice of getting pregnant. “There is a story about a woman who goes into labor when the attending physician is tired. There is a story about a woman who herself was born too early. There is a story about a woman whose body clung to her child so hard they cut her to retrieve him(Machado, 16). Through that she struggles with body changes and pain. A swelling stomach, the kicking of a baby, sickness, stretch marks, contractions, etc. Another is the complications during delivery. 20 hours in labor and in pain and the possibility of not having a normal delivery. Meaning they would have to surgically remove the baby. She is so drugged up she can’t speak up for herself. At one point she hears her husband asking about the extra stitch and laughing. She mumbles no but they couldn’t hear her and proceeded anyway. She also finds out that she wouldn’t be able to have another child.

The Husband Stitch, also known as the “daddy stitch’’ is an extra stitch added to tighten the woman’s vagina for the sexual pleasure of the male partner. The conversation of the husband stitch is brought up after labor was prolonged endangering the mother and child. An episiotomy, a cut the doctors make at the opening of the vagina, helps during difficult deliveries by enlarging the vaginal opening for the baby to come through and preventing the rupture of tissues.

There are many myths the narrator tells throughout the story. All focused on women and many of the challenges they faced. The husband stitch is not a myth it is indeed real and many women have experienced this.

“It was there that the obstetrician, after injecting me with a general anaesthetic, dared to ask my husband (man to man), ‘How tight do you want her?’” She wrote. When her husband did not know what to answer she was “duly sutured and then handed back to him with these words: ‘I’ve sewn her up good and tight.’ I was furious. He had given me the French equivalent of the American obstetrician’s ‘husband’s stitch’”(Vinopol 2017)

Not only is it real, for many women who have heard about it fear of falling victim to it. The extra stitch is very painful and It takes newly mothers longer to actually heal. It puts a hold on some of their daily activies and having sex that isn’t painful.

One of the struggles in the story is the thought of raising a daughter. All women are born with a bow on different parts of their bodies. “‘Eleven is a terrifying age,’ she says. ‘I remember nothing before I was eleven, but there it was, all color and horror’…‘We do not discuss the specific fears of raising a girl-child. Truthfully I am afraid to even ask.’”(Machado 22). The bows make them more vulnerable.

As a wife one of her main priorities was satisfying her husband’s needs even if it meant she would have to go through many struggles just to do it. Their life together started when they were teens fulfilling their sexual desires. She has a ribbon around her neck and she tells him then that he can’t touch it. On her 18th birthday he proposes to her and they get married. During the course of their marriage he tries a few more times to touch her ribbon. She was birthed with the ribbon around her neck. The ribbon is a piece of her, and though told many times, her husband over steps his boundaries by not respecting his wife’s wishes. She does a lot to keep her husband satisfiied, having his child, having sex in pain, and sacrificing her life to sate her husband’s curiosity. The ribbon around her neck is what kept her head attached to her body. Once taken off her head to the ground and she died. A story she tells about an older couple also relates to her struggle. It’s about an older woman married to a husband who had a temper and was violent. One day he buys a liver for her to cook. Cooking is how she kept him satisfied. Sadly she ate the liver to herself and didn’t have money to buy another. Subconsciously, she ends up cutting out her own liver and cooking it. It’s not until the middle of that night she realizes what she had done and dies. Her struggle as a woman was fear. Fear of falling victim of her husband’s temper. Some women who aren’t as strong become submissive to their husbands losing self love, identity, and in some circumstances, consequently their lives.

“Whisper to a Scream” is about a young girl Raina who lives with her mother Carmen. Raina in her free time makes ASMR videos on Youtube. ASMR is an autonomous sensory meridian response that gives a relaxing sedative sensation that begins on the scalp and moves down to the body. In these videos she only shows herself from the neck down. Her videos are therapeutic to most viewers helping them sleep or soothing them. She has to deal with bullies from her school constantly harassing her online no matter how many times she blocks them they always find a way back. Her mother is very conservative and worried about Raina’s content and the negative comments made towards her. Her parents are separated so she lives with her mother and rarely sees her father. Her mother, with good intentions of course, tends to come off blunt when lecturing Raina about her videos, clothing, and appearance. She has a boyfriend who lives in Connecticut and they video chat without showing their faces. The story is titled “Whisper to a Scream” because Raina in the beginning of the story whispers in her videos and in the end when she has had enough she makes a video where she is no longer whisper but speaking in her normal tone, crying and pouring out how she feels wanting to be heard. In the midst of her ventng her mother walks in trying to comfort her and Raina deletes the video.The main struggle of motherhood in this story is the difficulties of raising a teen daughter without the father around most of the time. Carmen is basically a single mother raising her daughter because her ex husband left and is preoccupied with the majority of the time. She is very protective of her daughter and the image she is creating.

One of the many struggles a woman faces is bringing up a daughter in the world. You want them to have a better lifestyle than you once had, which is easier said than done. Once they turn a certain age they have a mind of their own. They are bombarded by society’s expectations of how a female should look and try to fit in. They fall victim to bullying and harassment. They have hit puberty and are becoming young women. You want to make sure she is safe, giving her lectures about some of the bad decisions she’s making and criticism. Once a little girl always clinging to her mother with the desire of her hugs and kisses grows up and begins to go through many changes physically and mentally. She wants her personal space and privacy. She sees you as over protective and your criticism demeaning. She goes through difficult times alone. Depression and insecurities begin to surround her. Sometimes a mother’s way of trying to help may come off the wrong way, “Fiber will help you with that belly”(Thompson-Spires 120). Raina is seen as a hefty black girl with a big chest. Her mother is trying to help change her appearance so that she is bullied because of how she looks. All she really wants is to be seen for who she really is. “On days like this, Raina sometimes fantasized about running away, saving her money, taking her equipment, and finding a community of people who would really see her, not the family brand, not the extra thirty pounds, not the untouched edges of her hair or her Web tags, but her, whoever she was, her whole head and body fitting into a frame of her own design.” (Thompson-Spires 132). Every child is different and finding a way to instill confidence in them is a struggle. Allowing them to find themselves and make mistakes can be beneficial in their life. Privilege and wealth are not the key to happiness. “When you declaim, you can’t listen. When you insist, you miss the opportunity to learn something new”(Cusk, 2015)

When Carmen asks Raina why she doesn’t talk to her anymore She makes a statement, “That’s because you’re never home; you don’t listen anyway; maybe because everything you say is a lecture; maybe because you care more about how I look than how I feel’ I think Kevin’s posting anonymously on my page, sexually harassing me, again, and what will you even do about it?”(Thompson-Spires 131). Raina is very different from her mother. Carmen parents her daughter based on how she thinks she should be rather than accepting her for who she is. Being a mother you face many struggles trying to parent your children. Sometimes you get caught up in the lectures and discipline you forget to make room for her to become her true self. You don’t remember the struggles of being a teen, going through mood changes, wanting to express yourself freely, the worries of fitting in with other teens, and the want of your mother’s support rather than criticism.

Going through a divorce with a child involved is another struggle. When you marry you plan to create a family and be with that person for the rest of your life. For better or for worse, rich or poor, in sickness and in health, till death do you part. It doesn’t always turn out they way. Carmen raises her daughter on her own while her ex husband lives with his girlfriend, Manda, 30 minutes away. Even though he isn’t far he only sees raina 6 times out of the year. They still try to paint a perfect family image for his car company. Carmen does her best to make sure Raina secures her future and doesn’t have to depend on any man or her father. “I was on the payroll. Always make sure you’re on the payroll”(Thompson-Spires 127). She knows wht it’s like to have to depend on a man and that’s not something she wants for Raina.

Although womanhood is a beautiful thing, there are many struggles that come along with it. Machado’s “The Husband Stitch” and Thompson-Spires’s “Whisper to a Scream” gave an insight to 2 different lifestyles of women and the struggles they faced. The theme of the struggles of womanhood connected to both stories because throughout the stories both women are faced with them. The overall struggle of womanhood surrounded becoming/being a mother. Being mothers they faced many things. Body changes, labor pain, difficult deliveries, and victimization from “The Husband Stitch”; Displacement, fear, and adolescence from “Whisper to a scream”. Women play a big part in society and sacrifice a lot for their families. Not all women are perfect but they go to extreme measures for their families. They work hard , raise their children even if they have to do it alone, and become great wives and satisfy their husbands. Being a woman isn’t the easiest thing in the world but much good comes from it.

Works Cited

  1. Cusk, Rachel. “Raising Teenagers: The Mother of All Problems.” The New York Times, Nytimes, 19 Mar. 2015,
  2. Vinopal, Lauren. “Are Husbands and Doctors Conspiring to Sew New Moms Up Too Tight?” Fatherly, Fatherly, 21 Sept. 2017,
  3. Machado, Maria Carmen. Her Body and Other Parties. Graywolf Press, 2017.
  4. Thompson-Spires, Nafissa. Heads of the Colored People. 37Ink/Atria, 2018.


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