Fernandez-Cueto Writes Eye-Opening Motherhood Article
In the world of me, myself and I, Marion (Maendel) Fernandez-Cueto struggled to put aside her individualism, ambitions and self-image for the vocation of motherhood. She bravely portrayed her journey in a recent feature article entitled “Hands to Heaven” in the online magazine Crisis, a subsidiary of InsideCatholic.com which is a Web site for Catholics interested in Church, politics and culture.
The 2005 University of St. Thomas alumna reveals the inner conflict she experienced with the birth of her first child, Dominic.
“Motherhood didn’t come naturally to me,” Fernandez-Cueto said. “I feared people were going to judge me and call me a bad mother, but I realized it’s ok to struggle out loud.”
Fernandez-Cueto found articles either celebrating or denouncing motherhood, and neither stance gave her the comfort or understanding of being a mother in today’s world. By writing about her weakness and fears, she believed she could help and reach first-time parents dealing with the same situation.
The article is filled with her feelings of guilt, anxiety, confusion and love toward being a new mother. In the beginning, Fernandez-Cueto feared and wanted to avoid “the utter dying to self that motherhood entails.”
“My individualism and selfishness were alive and well, fostered by nearly a decade of independence, during which my time, decisions, money, plans and body had remained solely my own,” Fernandez-Cueto wrote.
However after a joyous pregnancy, Fernandez-Cueto thought she was ready to welcome her first-born.
Then a flood of emotional turbulence hit her. She loved Dominic, but at the same time she wondered, “What if?” Since the age of 17, Fernandez-Cueto had been a freelance journalist, and honed her writing as a joint major in communications and philosophy at St. Thomas, where she was also the editor of the student-run newspaper, The Cauldron. She dreamed of being a foreign correspondent.
Though her struggle was internal, Fernandez-Cueto was not alone. She had her husband, Andrés, her faith and God. The Catholic convert prayed for grace and confided in a priest. Fernandez-Cueto said both Andrés and God walked beside her through her emotional journey.
Now, her son Dominic is three and half years old, and is joined by his sister Mia, who is 11 months. The stay-at-home mom continues to write as a freelance journalist for other faith-based magazines and publications. She also contributed a chapter to the book, Faith on the Edge, and a chapter to a Catholic social teaching high school textbook.
“We’re proud that Marion was published in Crisis,” said Sr. Paula Jean Miller, FSE, UST director of Catholic Studies. “We’re even more pleased that her article exemplifies the growth into mature human values that we hope to inculcate in all our UST grads – values that often don’t come easy, and with a price.”
Fernandez-Cueto said this article has received immense amount of feedback from parents and young people without children. To read the feature, visit.