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Chapter: Extending Acts of Motherhood: Storytelling as Resistance to Stigma

In this chapter in 'Troubling Motherhood: Maternality in Global Politics', Dr Jamie Hagen highlights the different ways mothers engage in storytelling to resist stigma, while also rejecting the idea that they are “bad” mothers.

The prevailing story told about what makes a “good” mother relies on the construction of an ideal mother parenting within a specific vision of the nuclear family. Mothers who do not live up to this ideal construction of motherhood are punished through various forms of stigma such as sexual stigma and abortion stigma. This chapter considers the impact of stigma on two groups of women: lesbian mothers and mothers who have had abortions. Mothers from both communities who have faced stigma are finding ways to rewrite the script about how to mother without shame. Some of the forms of resistance these mothers have engaged in include abortion speak-outs, online storytelling through blogs and videos, and storytelling through art. The chapter also explores how community-based initiatives informed by the principles of reproductive justice make possible new narratives of maternity and as well as visions for a future for mothering without stigma.

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