Most women plan for motherhood. They consider what they will have to change in their daily lives to include caring for themselves while pregnant and then caring for a child. They consider the years that will be required for them to be “on call” to attend to the care needs of their children. Mothers make changes to their accommodation circumstances to have safe environments for their children.
Daughterhood and providing care for an older relative is something many women do not plan or prepare for. Daughterhood often arrives suddenly and without warning. It requires the daughter to be “on call”, available and to assume the responsibility for care coordination. Such responsibilities include making appointments with medical specialists, arranging transport and then finding and managing care providers. To advocate on behalf of the older adult so they can achieve their end of life goals. There is not consideration given to the time it will take to care for the older person.
Motherhood is a caring concept understood by the community. It is discussed openly and many women have experienced being a mother. There are established discussion and support groups to enable information sharing called “mother’s groups”. The goals of care are defined and measurable through growth and developmental markers.
On the other hand, Daughterhood is not discussed and daughters can often feel isolated and alone. End of life discussions with our parents are often confronting and many do not want to consider their end of life preferences. Family and sibling relationships may be fragmented, hindering opportunities to engage and discuss care matters. Each older person’s care goals are individual and different. There are no clear objective goals or markers to gauge success.
Motherhood is an accepted care role within the community and daughterhood is a taboo topic. There is an increasing need to consider daughterhood. To plan and prepare for a future when the older relatives may not be as well as they are today.
* This is not exclusive for women, men equally share these roles.