Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Women in the News August 14, 2012

This post was originally published on November 2, 2010

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Lately I’ve observed a troubling trend. The bleeding news that leads frequently starts with something like “A mother of three…,” as in “A mother of three was found murdered in her home” or “A grandmother was brutally raped.” And it got me thinking…are only tragedies involving mothers newsworthy? Would it be any less tragic if the victim was, say, for example, me?

It’s not just in the primetime news slots that I see this occurring. Three recent shows in Oprah’s final season were titled “The Bravest Mom in the World is Set Free” (9/22), “The Mom Who Fathered Her Own Children” (9/29), and “One Mom, 20 Personalities” (10/6). In each case, I can’t imagine the story would be any less impactful if we substituted the word “Woman” for “Mom.”

Who’s behind this? Did some big marketing study show that “Mom” is a buzzword that attracts viewers (and advertisers)? Is there some sinister plot afoot to further ostracize women without babies? What does it say about our society that being a mom makes you a better story? And how does all this make us, women who are childfree, feel about ourselves?

Me, I’m kind of pissed. But I’m not ready to carry a sign, write angry letters, or start an impassioned campaign online. I already feel marginalized, and I don’t want to subject myself to the “you-must-be-a-child-hating-anti-mom-bitch” response I fear would come.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in AAA’s Westways, GRIT, Real Simple, and 805 Living magazines. Read “How to Be the World’s Best Aunt Ever” on


5 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Women in the News”

  1. Maria Says:

    I agree and this was especially annoying during the Olympics that just ended. Not only to women like us, but how about all of the extended family who provide help and support to raising children. I love the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” because it is so true. Let’s give everyone credit when credit is due.

    • IrisD Says:

      I understand that pregnancy has a huge impact on your body and that carrying a child and being the mother of a young child also means that you cannot train as much as women without children. But, I also think that in some cases, the “she’s a mom” angle for sympathy and greater merit was overblown.

  2. j thorne Says:

    There was a commercial in particular – thanking all the moms. Yes, it is a very important job – if it’s done with the love and responsibilty required of it. Too bad we can’t say that of all “moms”. So just because someone is a mother, they certainly don’t deserve any more credit or value on this earth than the rest of us!

  3. Rainbow Brite Says:

    It’s called “pronatalism.” I’ve been reading a lot about it in The Baby Matrix book. And it royally sucks 😦

  4. IrisD Says:

    I think it annoys me most, when I hear this from my friends who are moms. This past year I was talking to one of my close friends about the murder of a police officer. She asked, “How can you kill somebody’s daddy.” A couple of years ago a friend was complaining about how her husband doesn’t take good care of his health and I made a similar complaint, and she said something to the extent of it being different if something happened to my husband because I was an adult and could take care of myself, but that her daughter would be vulnerable about losing her father. You know… I get it. I get that when you have a child you become naturally very anxious about their welfare and you probably think and worry about what should happen to your kids if you are not around to take care of them. I think this is a common anxiety among parents. But, I think it can also translate to utter insensitivity and quite frankly those comments really irked me.

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