In Poland, motherhood lies at the heart of the local ideals of femininity and national identity. Three vital symbolic figures linking motherhood and nation, idealizing women's suffering and patriotic self-sacrifice, continue to influence the representations, discourses, and practices of mothering in Poland. They are the Polish Mother, Poland as Mother, and Madonna of the national shrine in Czestochowa. Rooted in the nation-building process of the 19th century (during the Partitions) and fueled by Catholic doctrine, these symbols continue to inform state policies and gender identity construction.

The period of state socialism (1945–89) brought about significant social changes: incorporation of women into the labor market, the rise of the educational level of women, and introduction of broader reproductive rights (legalization of abortion in 1956 and access to ...

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