In The Awakening, Edna Pontellier challenges her role as a mother while Adele Ratignolle fulfills it to a tee. Motherhood is not a dynamic or fluid concept in The Awakening, but rather a static, idealized image that all women should aspire to. This image functions as an ideal while at the same time holding women to an impossible standard. Edna refuses to play this game as she considers her children to be perfectly secure and happy without involvement on her part.
For Edna, individual self-expression takes precedence over motherhood.