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Motherhood vs VP- Betsy Bergquist


September 4, 2008

We have a Mother of 5 children, a 4 month old down syndrome boy, three 3 teenagers, one of whom is facing motherhood at age 17, and one going to Iraq, running for the second highest office in the country and only a "heartbeat away" from President. Her family is not atypical of probably many families in this country. The situations she faces in her family are not the problem I have for the choice of Sarah Palin for VP. The problem I have is with this word “motherhood” and what it means to bring a child into the world.

The story does not end with the decision to bring a down syndrome child into the world. The story begins here and we should all be more concerned about little Trig as he begins his journey into his life than whether his Mother is elected VP.

What is implied here is that being a Mom is simple, easy, work that requires little time or attention. If you have the money, hire a good nanny or two to do the Mother’s work, the child will not know the difference. I don’t think there is a Mom out there who doesn’t know or understand the emotional and mental and physical work that goes into the job of parenting. And if you ask any parents of special needs children of the energy and time that is required to meet the emotional needs of this child, you will hear heartbreaking stories of sacrifice, commitment, love and selfless acts of giving, giving and more giving. Sometimes even to the point of the parents losing connection with each other which then adds even more stress to the family.

I believe that we are in exciting times now where women can choose careers alongside of being a Mother. I also realize there are situations where mothers do not have the choice to not work and that is a problem that needs to be addressed. But I have also seen some very creative ways in which Mothers have combined career with children. Regardless, the bottom line is that the needs of the child have to come first!!! over and above career. The primary obligation and responsibility of a Mother is to her children.

The job of Vice President that Sarah Palin is running for requires “Country First”. In this job the country has to come first. That is a requirement of the job. Palin has to choose which job will take priority. Down syndrome babies in the first 2 or 3 years of their lives often require a great deal of attention, some times surgery or physical therapy, etc.

For all this talk about Family and pro life, I have heard no mention or even concern about who will become the “MOM” if Sarah Palin becomes the next VP. Where is her loyalty? Where is her commitment?

And a larger question is How much do we really understand the role of a Mother in meeting all the needs of children, emotional, physical, mental as each of them journey through each stage of their development into adulthood. Just how much value do we attach to the role of parenting? Or do we just give lip service to it.

These are some of my thoughts on a September morning.

Betsy Bergquist
Clinton, NJ

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