Combating Maternal Myths as a Journalist

The Barbara Barnett piece discusses an honest reality that I had not been exposed to:  Mothers killing their children. 

Barnett outlines that mothers are seen to be these beings that, more often than not, have a “natural” ability and instinct to nurture 

children and guide them. However,that’s a narrative that fails to account the candid truth about motherhood. It’s a difficult journey and can be rendered to be even more arduous when the parent has a child who has disabilities or if the parent is doing it alone. I found that in Massachusetts there are a plethora of resources available to mothers. However, in being cognizant of my biases, I acknowledge that these resources may still be barriers that stop mothers from getting the help they need. These challenges transcend cultural and economic barriers. For example, these resources may be physically far from the parent, and without a reliable form of transportation disallows them the chance of participating in community meetings for mothers for example. Furthermore, in my search, I found grants available for mothers to apply to for housing or for child-care related resources. However, these resources may be unavailable to someone who is not able to speak english, or even have access to reliable internet access. 

Looking on to the solution piece of Barnett’s piece, it’s important to consider access when synthesizing resources. The information itself may be useless if the people who actually need it, are unable to reach it. 

In the media, it’s vital that the women who do unfortunately get to the point where they have killed their child, that they are being represented appropriately. In her qualitative data, Barnett found that women who did kill their children were more likely to be characterized with the following descriptors: “uncaring,” “abusive,” “neglectful,” and or “remorseful.”Barnett goes on to explain that even in the research field, academic articles are not supplying readers with all of the information they need to understand how to prevent and or combat this issue. 

Barnett concludes her piece with a call to action for academics and journalists. She acknowledges the challenges and toil that is required of them to deliver the appropriate information, but she makes the point that it’s worth it. It’s worth framing things in an equitable manner so that we can combat “maternal myths.”   

Picture: On Regretting Motherhood

One thought on “Combating Maternal Myths as a Journalist

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  1. Thanks for sharing your interpretation of the article and your point of view of the situation. Yes, many barriers are present for women when resources lack relevance to women’s situations/identities.


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