Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access




Abigail Kluchin

Committee Member

Kelly Sorensen

Committee Member

Stephanie Mackler

Committee Member

Abigail Kluchin

Department Chair

Roger Florka

Project Description

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.