Chiara Francinis monologue on motherhood is a missed opportunity

Chiara Francini’s monologue on motherhood is a missed opportunity


I never thought that I would ever write a commentary on a Sanremo monologue, just me, who, like every year, didn’t even follow Sanremo for five minutes. But this monologue was pointed out to me by many in view of the topic that was of interest to me. So I decided to check it out and yes it is indeed an interesting monologue that deserves further reflection. We are talking about Chiara Francini’s monologue, much discussed both because of the subject – motherhood, still too often a taboo in Italy – and because of the broadcast time – postponed to 1.40 in the morning, just before the grand finale.

After listening carefully to the monologue, I asked myself: Did I enjoy it? We say “no”. Or rather, I liked it, but only partially. This monologue had the great merit of ripping the veil on a subject that is still under-discussed and which seems almost a sin to talk about: missed motherhood and the choice not to be a mother. And Francini brought the topic to the first channel of the state television, which is the transmission par excellence, so hats off.

Let’s get to the part that didn’t convince me. The actress recalls the moment when all her friends started having “babies” around her and she didn’t know how to react to the announcements of happy news because “pregnant people are violent and they just want to be celebrated. And there is no place for your pain, for your loneliness”. I am 32 years old, have no children and have been seeing “children” (an animal term I do not like very much) and the number of walkers in my friends for a number of years present at the Sunday afternoon aperitif is increasing every year. And yet, although I have no children, I always celebrated with them when the announcement of the baby’s birth came. Sure, if I were trying to have a child without succeeding, mine might be a different celebration, inevitably convinced of the envy “Why yes and me not?”, but I am also convinced that in this case my friends will appreciate my double feeling, that of joy and that of sadness, maybe Francini just had the wrong friends, who knows.

At one point in the monologue, the actress talks about her successful career: “I kept doing my things better, I earned more and more, more and more people looked at me and loved me. And then to a certain point I realized that time was passing and that if I hadn’t hurried I might never have had a child.” Having a successful career and becoming a mother at the same time is for a woman in Italy an almost impossible feat, and it’s worth emphasizing that, because I still think we don’t have the right perception, or even take it for granted that the moment a woman becomes a mother, she should give up her career and want because mother must be “enough for you”.

However, what doesn’t convince me is the “if I didn’t hurry”. We all know that our biological clock is ticking and that motherhood is only possible up to a certain point in life. But can this justify a “hurry”? Let me explain better: if I don’t want to have a child today and I don’t know if I ever will, I can still make the decision to do it, “because maybe one day I will and I will will do it.” I can’t do it anymore and that’s why I will regret this choice”? In my opinion, the answer is: no. Having a child is a big decision that has big (and beautiful, if motherhood was really desired) consequences. What if that day never comes? What if I never regret not having children? Isn’t it better to continue living as you please and at least one day decide to adopt (of course with all the difficulties that adoption in Italy entails, another problem that is not discussed enough )? “You think you’ve waited too long,” says Francini. No: if you’ve been waiting, it’s because you didn’t want a child at that moment or couldn’t afford one (but in the latter case, we run into another problem).

So no, you are not wrong, you must not think that you are “a failure”. “Somewhere I think I’m a shitty woman because I can’t cook, I’m not married and I don’t have children – says the actress – I know that rationally it isn’t, but there is the voice, she exists, and I think in the end that she’s right, that I’m wrong”. The voice Francini speaks of is real: it is society that still today leads us to believe that a woman who does not have (and/or does not want) children is at fault. But Francini, don’t succumb to that voice, don’t agree with it. Especially not worldwide. Be clearer, do it for all those non-mother women who, like you, feel wrong and who deserve to hear another non-mother woman tell them no, you are not wrong. Sure, we may take it that way, but don’t worry and go with your head held high: you’re not wrong. You got a role on the Ariston stage and it’s wonderful that you found the courage to show your insecurities so openly. But it is precisely because of this role that you have that I think it would be right to go one step further, to explain the problem as you did, but also to analyze it. Why do we feel wrong? Is it right to feel this way? Or maybe it’s society that demands that we feel this way? Talk about it, move on, otherwise the danger is only to increase the sense of failure in the women-not-mothers who are listening.

“Maybe it’s just you who don’t want to come to me because you think I’ve forgotten you, that I’ve forgotten life. Because I was too busy. But I just wanted to be good, I just wanted to be prepared, I wanted you to be proud of me.” I think this too is a thought that inevitably – and certainly unintentionally – causes a woman who doesn’t have any Mother is feeling even more guilty. I had “too much” to do. Who decided it was “too much”? good and increasingly competitive? Is it perhaps a sin to be “prepared” before the possible arrival of a child? to want?

I think Francini ends up thinking like me; but perhaps on this stage she lacked the strength to take a firm stand, to address women-not-mothers like her and to say clearly: “Yes, I also feel wrong like you. But we are not.”