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Constructing the (M)other

Narratives of Disability, Motherhood, and the Politics of «Normal»


Edited By Priya Lalvani

Constructing the (M)other is a collection of personal narratives about motherhood in the context of a society in which disability holds a stigmatized position. From multiple vantage points, these autoethnographies reveal how ableist beliefs about disability are institutionally upheld and reified. Collectively they seek to call attention to a patriarchal surveillance of mothering, challenge the trope of the good mother, and dismantle the constructed hierarchy of acceptable children. The stories contained in this volume are counter-narratives of resistance—they are the devices through which mothers push back. Rejecting notions of the otherness of their children, in these essays, mothers negotiate their identities and claim access to the category of normative motherhood. Readers are likely to experience dissonance, have their assumptions about disability challenged, and find their parameters of normalcy transformed.

List of Figures – Acknowledgments – Linda Ware: Foreword: "There was this mother, one mother…" – Priya Lalvani: Introduction: Mother: The Story – Tammy Bachrach: Standard Deviation: Stigma, Surveillance, and the Good Mother Daughter – Bernadette Macartney: West Side Story (Down Under) – Erin McCloskey: Selves-Advocacy and the Meeting Space – Maria T. Timberlake: An Unexpected Journey with My Mother – Elizabeth A. Wheeler: Masculinity at the Orthopedic Preschool – LaChan V. Hannon: Mothering While Black: Shapeshifting Amid Ableism, Racism, and Autism – Elaine Gerber: Unbecoming Mother: Selected Notes on Miscarriage and Infertility – María Cioè-Peña/Laura Castro Santamaría: Bad Mother – Priya Lalvani: The Strange Case of the Two Journals: Ableism, Academia, and the Birth of a Child – Negar Irani/Negin Hosseini Goodrich: Becoming Anahita: A Persian Mother’s Pilgrimage to Autism Pride – Susan Baglieri: Mothering in the Panopticon – Monika Tiwari: Karma, Dogma, and the Perfect Child – Linnéa Franits: Mother Is Wise: How Disability Constructs Maternal Identity – Diane Linder Berman/David J. Connor: Typicality and the (Br)other – Carol Rogers-Shaw: Confessions of an Inept Supermom – Priya Lalvani: Epilogue: "Tell Me About When I Was Born": (Mostly) True Tales About How We Became a Family – Contributors.