As a middle-class woman born in Dublin in the 1960s, Victoria White was given a simple formula for achieving happiness: get a good job and don't get pregnant. The desire to have babies still took hold and, although she started late, she had four children. But she received a strong message to repress her desire for children and keep silent about the incredible journey of motherhood. Had the brand of Irish feminism which had formed her taken on the fear of pregnancy common in the Ireland of the past, a fear based on a perception of sin and guilt inculcated by the Catholic Church?
Public policy and budget after budget in the years of the Celtic Tiger incentivised the participation of women in the workforce outside the home in response to the existing labour shortage and supported families financially to pay for childcare. But did legislators even consider the long-term effects of this policy?
Victoria White writes about herself and her generation and the previous generation that discovered feminism, as well as considering research from other countries, in her effort to understand why 'Mother' Ireland came to hate motherhood.
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Date of Publication: 29/09/2010