Essential Question : Why is it okay for women in that era to overwork themselves during pregnancy?
I feel like pregnancy in the Good Earth is highly under valued and the workers should not be forced or feel obligated to work equally as hard as they do when they are not pregnant. O-lan was pregnant with her first child and she worked all the way up until her pregnancy and the same day she gave birth to her baby. Wang Lung also found that during O-lan’s pregnancy she was a disturbance and that the baby hindered her work in the field. I don’t think that O-lan was given enough credit for the work and hours that she put in during her pregnancy. Not that I know from experience, but it cannot be easy to work in the field, harvesting, and bending over with a baby inside of her. Not to mention the fact that it takes energy, hard work, and dedication to work in the field in hot weather and tough working conditions. The baby had to have taken nutrients and energy out of her that just drained her. I feel like O-lan began to believe that she was a nuisance in the field and felt obligated to work harder than she already was, given the fact that she was pregnant. When in fact she should have pride in her baby and pregnancy is just the beginning of the nurturing love and affection she will provide for her baby. There was also only a limited supply of food then, and the harder she worked, the more food she would have to eat to maintain enough energy to withstand the conditions of the work she was putting in. She was working so hard and the baby took her energy, therefore she was basically eating for two.
On the contrary, I feel like today, pregnancy is over valued and we tend to think of pregnant women almost as handicapped. Pregnant women should not feel like they are a disturbance to others and need help. These women like to do there own things and function just as a “normal” person would. They still are normal, they’re just normal but with another human being developing. Yes, they have certain limitations and cannot consume alcohol at all during their pregnancy as it is bad for the baby. Being pregnant is not a physical disability and should not be seen like that under any circumstances. People always say “Pregnancy is a beautiful thing” yet, the often act as if it is hindering their daily life. In most cases, the women had a say in being pregnant and tried to get pregnant. I’m sure all women don’t love all the side affects of pregnancy and the cramps and pains the endure over the course of their pregnancy. In the long run most mothers are extremely happy with the turn out of their child and love entering the life of a mother. Motherhood is usually a very big thing for most women, especially when their first child enters the world. I feel like pregnant women should be nurtured and cared for the same way that they are when they are not pregnant and no less. Occasionally women during pregnancy need help in some ways and ask for favors but otherwise they are just as self sufficient and useful as they were before the got pregnant. Today women that are pregnant rarely work and spend a lot of time sitting around and not doing anything. I believe that it is probably tiring to walk around carrying an extra 6 or so pounds and it can get very exhausting, very fast.
In the Good Earth, O-Lan, or any pregnant women, have much less of a food supply than we do, here, today. Most women say during pregnancy that they are “eating for two.” Because there was limited food supply at the time in the Good Earth, I cannot see the logic behind having pregnant women working, voluntary or not. People know that will just lead to more food consumption as the baby is taking nutrients from its mom. If anything it is more reasonable to have pregnant women work in today’s society because we have the thriving food economy that can maintain the metabolism of a pregnant women.