Mama Mia! Conceptions and Constructions of Motherhood
Mama, Ma, Mom, Mommy, Mother…few words can evoke such myriad emotions ranging from affection to contempt. Mothers can drive us crazy, yet we can’t live (literally) without them. In this seminar we will examine how mothers are conceived, or how women physically, psychologically, and socially transform into mothers. Our class will also explore how motherhood is constructed, meaning how mothers view themselves and how they are viewed by society. We will consider how societal expectations of mothers and the experience of being a mother has changed dramatically over time and how mothers’ experiences vary according to larger social and economic circumstances. We will learn about moms who face difficult experiences such as postpartum depression, the birth of a medically fragile child, and even the death of a baby. Finally, our class will look at the challenges mothers face in the workplace and in financially supporting their families.