5. Days and Nights of a New Mother

Existentialism in the Nursery

  1. Sheila Lintott Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  1. Elizabeth Butterfield PhD Assistant Professor

Published Online: 13 AUG 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324525.ch5

Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone

Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone

How to Cite

Butterfield, E. (2010) Days and Nights of a New Mother, in Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone (ed S. Lintott), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324525.ch5

Editor Information

  1. Bucknell University, USA

Author Information

  1. Georgia Southern University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 AUG 2010
  2. Published Print: 24 SEP 2010

Book Series:

  1. Philosophy for Everyone

Book Series Editors:

  1. Fritz Allhoff

Series Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444330281

Online ISBN: 9781444324525



  • labor pains - the work and wonder of being a mom;
  • days and nights of a new mother - existentialism in the nursery;
  • complex relation of individual and the social - in her book, The Ethics of Ambiguity;
  • maternal condition - and freedom in situation;
  • Beauvoir, an atheist's insistence - absence of a God, and no such thing as an objectively true value;
  • crucial element of our situation - in relation to others, in one way or another;
  • neither is being a mother nothing - the category of “mother” not dismissed as simply meaningless;
  • beyond the “ideal mother” - creating our own identities;
  • serious mothers, vulnerable to certain problems - freely choosing to deny their own freedom;
  • serious man's goal of escaping anxiety - being doomed to failure


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Maternal Condition: Freedom in Situation

  • Beyond the “Ideal Mother”: Creating Our Own Identities

  • Mommy and Me

  • Notes