The Mothers

by

Brit Bennett

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Mothers can help.

The Golden Baby Feet Symbol Analysis

The Golden Baby Feet Symbol Icon

The golden baby feet medallion that Nadia receives from the pregnancy center before getting an abortion symbolizes how an abortion follows a woman around for her entire life. Nadia throws away everything else the center gives her, but she can’t bring herself to discard this medallion, instead hiding it in a drawer in her bedroom. Similarly, Nadia can’t let go of the complicated grief from her abortion, burying it deep inside of her and carrying it throughout her teenage years and adult life. In addition, Robert learns about Nadia’s abortion years later by finding the medallion in her drawer. He angrily confronts his daughter and forces her to grapple with the emotional pain of her abortion once more. As the last remnant of a painful past, the medallion symbolizes how Nadia’s abortion “follow[s] her around” throughout her entire life, especially considering that Robert may have never known about his daughter’s abortion if he hadn’t found the golden medallion. Nadia expresses this sentiment after a fertility specialist asks Aubrey if she’s ever had an abortion. Once the doctor leaves the room, Nadia says, “I can’t believe it follows you around like that,” astounded that a single procedure can stay with a person so long, affecting her life even years later.

The Golden Baby Feet Quotes in The Mothers

The The Mothers quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Golden Baby Feet. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Secrecy, Gossip, and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of The Mothers published in 2016.
Chapter Fourteen Quotes

“You did this thing?” he said. “You did this thing behind my back?”

He’d refused to name her sin, which shamed her even more. So she’d told him the truth. How she’d secretly dated Luke, and discovered that she was pregnant, and how the Sheppards had given her the money for the abortion. Her father had listened silently, head bowed, wringing his hands, and when she finished, he sat there a moment longer before standing up and walking out of her room. He was in shock, and she didn’t understand why. Didn’t he know by now that you could never truly know another person? Hadn’t her mother taught them both that?

Related Symbols: The Golden Baby Feet
Page Number: 264
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Mothers LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Mothers PDF

The Golden Baby Feet Symbol Timeline in The Mothers

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Golden Baby Feet appears in The Mothers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Fourteen
Secrecy, Gossip, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Caretaking and Responsibility Theme Icon
Religion and Judgment Theme Icon
The morning after Robert finds the golden baby feet , he bursts into Upper Room with Nadia and goes straight for the pastor’s office.... (full context)