Avital Norman Nathman MALS ’07 has edited a new collection of 35 essays, The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality (Seal Press) unravels the social media-fed notion of what it means to be a “good mother” in an era of mommy blogs, Pinterest, and Facebook. This volume takes a realistic look at motherhood and provides a platform for a diversity of voices, sharing revealing, candid, and sometimes raw stories to expand the narrative of motherhood we don’t tend to see in the headlines or on the news.
The essay writers come from all walks of life, from professors to porn directors and musicians to massage therapists, who share tales of panic and feeling overwhelmed, surprise pregnancies, single motherhood, dealing with the terrible twos, adopting a child, and several other issues. The honesty of the essays reflects a community of mothers don’t wish to be in competition with others or with the notion of the ideal mom. The foreword is by Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts, and contributors include Jessica Valenti, Sharon Lerner, Soraya Chemaly, Amber Dusick, and more.
Editor Norman Nathman concentrated in women’s studies while earning her MALS at Wesleyan. She completed a master’s thesis on the status of feminism in the lives of women in their 20s, which encouraged her to investigate and comment on the role of feminism for women in other aspects of their lives, including motherhood.
She writes a blog, The Mamafesto, and has a regular series, “The Femisphere,” for Ms. magazine’s website, as well as a regular feminist parenting column, “Mommie Dearest,” for The Frisky. Her freelance writing employs a feminist lens on a variety of topics, such as motherhood, gender, reproductive justice and reproductive health, and has appeared in The New York Times, Bamboo Family Magazine, RH Reality Check, Bitch magazine, CNN, Offbeat Families, and elsewhere.