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The relationship between selfhood and motherhood has long been debated. Is the mother a subject when she is pregnant and raising a child? I claim this is a double-bind. The mother can either be a transcendent subject, as Simone de Beauvoir coins in her book The Second Sex, or she can be a selfless mother. This dichotomy is explored in her works and within the psychoanalytic tradition. I will look at both Beauvoir and Donald W. Winnicott as I outline a language to conceptualize this double-bind. Using his categories of the good enough mother and the too good mother, I will lay out the issue of morality and motherhood to demonstrate how the subject must interact with her obligations of motherhood in order to be a good mother. I will engage with both of these thinkers to give language to the issue of maternal selfhood, arguing that within these two fields, there may be room for a subject who is also a mother.
Zorger, Haley, "What About Moral Motherhood? An Exploration Into the Maternal Body as an Object and Subject" (2018). Philosophy Honors Papers. 3.