One of the aspects that I wish I had seen more of in DiA was the exploration of what it meant for her to leave her child. One of the aspects that I wish I had seen more of in DiA was the exploration of what it meant for her to leave her child.
I was struck by this as well, and had a hard time wrapping my head around it. I don’t have children, but I have a mother and even though I am an adult I can’t imagine her choosing to do something that would separate us forever.
My sister, who is a mother and a wife, brought up an interesting point, though. You choose your husband, and when you do he is your partner for life. He is the person with whom you decide to build a life, stay together, stand together, until you (or he) are no longer living. While the children you create together are important and you love them unconditionally, your children will grow up and leave you and get lives of their own. So your relationship with your husband has to be the one that matters most to you.*
I think while it was difficult for Claire to leave, she knew that soon Bree would leave her. Bree was still in college but was already growing away from Claire. For her part, Claire made sure there were people to look out for Bree (Joe, Roger), and Claire had her doubts about going right up until the end. Bree had to tell her go.
In some ways, it’s a bit of a cop-out for Ms. Gabaldon to make the decision that much easier for Claire. What would Claire have done if Frank had told her someone named James Fraser had survived Culloden? What if Claire had researched all of this on her own when Bree was a little girl? Would she have left Bree with Frank? Would she have attempted to take Bree with her through the stones, with little knowledge of how the stones worked? Would she have risked Bree’s life in this way, knowing Bree was her last connection to Jamie, and that Jamie would have put Bree’s life before his own? (Please reread these questions with very dramatic organ music playing in your head.)
*This is not to say that your children are not the most important responsibility you have, nor is this a stand-by-your-man-no-matter-what statement. If you and your partner are no longer able to get along, or if your partner is harmful to you and/or your children, by all means get the hell of out there.