Friday, November 02, 2012

Children are more interesting than fleas

Feminists often attack motherhood as a barrier to feminine fulfillment. And this is frequently cited to rationalize abortion.

Let’s take a comparison. Miriam Rothschild was one of the world’s leading entomologists. Not only did she rise to the top of her field, but did so in the field of science–and not a soft science like sociology. That’s a rare and remarkable distinction for any woman, much less one of her generation (b. 1906).

Yet she also took time out of her distinguished career to be a mother. Did that distraction impede her sense of self-fulfillment? She juggled the demands of science and motherhood. And she took delight in both:

I myself was mildly surprised to find my children more interesting than fleas, and I gladly abandoned field and laboratory experiments, and contrary to a prevalent view that systematics are dull, found them exceedingly interesting. Collaborating with a retired entomologist and the Natural History Museum draftsman we produced five volumes describing and cataloguing the Museum's unique but uncatalogued flea collection. This entailed the study of 10,000 sections of whole fleas - after the children had gone to bed. During this ten-year period I was exceedingly proud that we were never once late for nursery school!

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