Mothering Against the Odds: Diverse Voices of Contemporary Mothers

Overview

We all know what a "good mother" looks like on television and in the popular imagination: typically she is white, heterosexual, and married, and devotes herself full-time to child care. But increasing numbers of women who mother today do not fit this narrow traditional image, and their different experiences of mothering are often maligned, misunderstood, or ignored. This compelling book presents the stories of diverse mothers whose life circumstances place them outside the mainstream. Filled with the voices of ...
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Overview

We all know what a "good mother" looks like on television and in the popular imagination: typically she is white, heterosexual, and married, and devotes herself full-time to child care. But increasing numbers of women who mother today do not fit this narrow traditional image, and their different experiences of mothering are often maligned, misunderstood, or ignored. This compelling book presents the stories of diverse mothers whose life circumstances place them outside the mainstream. Filled with the voices of the women themselves, chapters explore the lives of mothers of exceptional children and biracial children; mothers who seek closeness and connection with their adolescent children; mothers with HIV/AIDS; immigrant, homeless, single, lesbian, adoptive, and teen mothers; African American mothers living in poverty; and mothers in prison. Their vivid, heartfelt accounts demonstrate the unique strengths of women struggling to overcome personal and societal barriers and take us beyond labeling entire groups of mothers as normal or deviant, "good" or "bad."

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Mothering Against the Odds is a groundbreaking, heartbreaking, and ultimately inspiring work about a scandalously neglected subject. This is 'must' reading for everyone who cares about mothers, about children, about families, about social injustice and social change--in short, for everyone who cares." --Paula J. Caplan, PhD, author of They Say You're Crazy: How the World's Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who's Normal

"The authors of this volume, most of whom are mothers themselves, eloquently describe the challenges of 'mothering at the margins.' The stories are poignant, personal, and passionate, actively drawing the reader into the daily struggles and joys of mothering under unusual circumstances. Regardless of the context, each mother brings courage and resilience to her special situation. This book fills a large gap in the literature and must be read by all parents and by policy makers who care about how our children are raised." --Ellen Bassuk, M.D., The Better Homes Fund

"Our society today is anything but a melting pot. We treat any kind of diversity as a negative. Why? This excellent volume brings to light the marginalization of different kinds of mothers whom society both labels and rejects. The strengths and the passions with which these mothers can offer their children need to be respected and even revered by our society. This volume will help that process in all of us." --T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Robin Webb Corbett, PhD, RN C(East Carolina University)
Description: This book discusses today's "marginal mothers and their families," in contrast to the stereotypical image of mothering and families. It helps us see that these diverse mothers of contemporary society provide love and caring to their families and that the traditional definitions or views of mothering are inadequate.
Purpose: The purpose is to present the diverse "voices of mothers, speaking of their own subjective experiences" and identify the "unique strengths" and different contexts of mothering for these women. This is a thought-provoking book exploring mothering practices or contexts that are marginalized.
Audience: It is written for anyone interested in exploring contemporary mothering. In particular, it is appropriate for professionals — clinicians, researchers, educators, theoreticians, and writers — interested in studying and supporting families. The editors and contributors have considerable expertise, clinical and research, in the area of families. In addition, they add their personal voices to the diverse voices of these contemporary mothers.
Features: This book presents the diverse voices of mothering, voices beyond the traditional mothering mainstream. These voices include mothers with HIV/AIDS, those with biracial children, those who are adolescents themselves, and those with special needs/exceptional children. In addition, adoptive, immigrant, single, adolescent, lesbian, homeless, and incarcerated mothers' voices are heard. Of particular interest is the wide ranging scope of this book, which explores a contemporary though neglected subject. Focusing on mothering practices or contexts that have been marginalized by society, these stories identify the strengths and experiences of these women and their families. The chapter indexes, current and pertinent, are particularly helpful for those professionals interested in expanding their knowledge in a specific area. Initially, the lack of illustrations was viewed as a shortcoming. Further consideration determined that the illustration of the "voices" might limit our ability to hear these mothers and their experiences.
Assessment: This book presents the previously unheard voices of marginalized mothers in contemporary society. Professionals in varied disciplines will recognize these women and their experiences. Acknowledgment of these voices outside the mainstream will only contribute to our knowledge and and enhance our ability to work with these families.
Robin Webb-Corbett
This book discusses today's "marginal mothers and their families," in contrast to the stereotypical image of mothering and families. It helps us see that these diverse mothers of contemporary society provide love and caring to their families and that the traditional definitions or views of mothering are inadequate. The purpose is to present the diverse "voices of mothers, speaking of their own subjective experiences" and identify the "unique strengths" and different contexts of mothering for these women. This is a thought-provoking book exploring mothering practices or contexts that are marginalized. It is written for anyone interested in exploring contemporary mothering. In particular, it is appropriate for professionals — clinicians, researchers, educators, theoreticians, and writers — interested in studying and supporting families. The editors and contributors have considerable expertise, clinical and research, in the area of families. In addition, they add their personal voices to the diverse voices of these contemporary mothers. This book presents the diverse voices of mothering, voices beyond the traditional mothering mainstream. These voices include mothers with HIV/AIDS, those with biracial children, those who are adolescents themselves, and those with special needs/exceptional children. In addition, adoptive, immigrant, single, adolescent, lesbian, homeless, and incarcerated mothers' voices are heard. Of particular interest is the wide ranging scope of this book, which explores a contemporary though neglected subject. Focusing on mothering practices or contexts that have been marginalized by society, these stories identify the strengths and experiences ofthese women and their families. The chapter indexes, current and pertinent, are particularly helpful for those professionals interested in expanding their knowledge in a specific area. Initially, the lack of illustrations was viewed as a shortcoming. Further consideration determined that the illustration of the "voices" might limit our ability to hear these mothers and their experiences. This book presents the previously unheard voices of marginalized mothers in contemporary society. Professionals in varied disciplines will recognize these women and their experiences. Acknowledgment of these voices outside the mainstream will only contribute to our knowledge and and enhance our ability to work with these families.
Booknews
Presents first-person stories and essays on diverse mothers whose life circumstances place them outside of the mainstream, encompassing mothers of adolescents, mothers of biracial children, mothers with HIV/AIDS, homeless mothers, adoptive mothers, mothers in prison, teen mothers, and mothers of children with special needs. Their vivid, heartfelt accounts demonstrate the unique strengths of women struggling to overcome personal and societal barriers and take us beyond labeling entire groups of mothers as good or bad. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572303393
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Cynthia Garcia Coll, PhD, is Professor of Education, Psychology, and Pediatrics at Brown University. She is the former Director of the Stone Center at Wellesley College.
Janet L. Surrey, PhD, is a Founding Scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute and Codirector of the Gender Relations Program at the Stone Center, Wellesley College, and attending psychologist at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
Kathy Weingarten, PhD, is Codirector of the Program in Narrative Therapies at The Family Institute of Cambridge and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School.
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Table of Contents


Introduction
1. Sidelined No More: Promoting Mothers of Adolescents as a Resource for Their Growth and Development, Kathy Weingarten
2. "Exceptional" Mothering in a "Normal" World, Miriam Greenspan
3. Homeless: Mothering at Rock Bottom, Rebecca Koch, Mary T. Lewis, and Wendy Quiñones
4. Immigrant Mothers: What Makes Them High Risk?, Marilyn G. Fraktman
--Conversation One, edited by Kathy Weingarten
5. Yes, I Am a Swan: Reflections on Families Headed by Lesbians and Gay Men, Laura Benkov
6. Safeguarding Wordless Voices in a World of Words, Bonnie Y. Ohye
7. He Needs His Father: The Clinical Discourse and Politics of Single Mothering, Phoebe Kazdin Schnitzer
8. Let Me Suffer So My Kids Won't: African American Mothers Living with HIV/AIDS, Karen Fraser Wyche
--Conversation Two, edited by Kathy Weingarten
9. "Real" Mothers: Adoptive Mothers Resisting Marginalization and Re-Creating Motherhood, Betsy Smith, Janet L. Surrey, and Mary Watkins
10. Against All Odds: Resistance and Resilience in African American Welfare Mothers, Elizabeth Sparks
11. Teen Mothers: Countering the Myths of Dysfunction and Developmental Disruption, Patricia Flanagan
12. Incarcerated Mothers: Crimes and Punishments, Cynthia García Coll, Janet L. Surrey, Phyllis Buccio-Notaro, and Barbara Molla
--Conversation Three, edited by Kathy Weingarten
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