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Future of Motherhood

  • By: Eleanor Milligan
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

When considering the future of motherhood, it is important to first acknowledge the multiple meanings the term motherhood may invoke. Definitions of motherhood typically include the state of being a mother, maternity, the character or qualities of a mother, and mothers collectively.

Within the developed world, the increasing emergence of a range of nontraditional family structures and technologically mediated motherhood are increasingly challenging traditional understandings of the term, including giving birth, adoption, intercountry adoption, and fostering. Blended families, same-sex partnerships, technologically assisted and biologically controlled parenthood, surrogacy, and gamete donation continue to stretch the definition and use of the term motherhood. The term may be equally bestowed upon any person undertaking the parenting tasks of developing kinship, providing nurture, and offering guidance and love in ...

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