Serving the Community & Educating People – YEAR END DONATIONS

Partners_BadgeThe Museum of Motherhood is supported by its founding non-profit 501c3 Motherhood Foundation Inc; serving the community and educating people since 2005 with programming, classes, events, and exhibits. Please support M.O.M. and help us establish a permanent home in a physical location in Manhattan. Any amount helps us continue our activities online and in person and is tax deductible. THANK YOU!



Early History and Significance KEY FACTS – 877.711.6667 — Conceived in 2003. Trademarked and Application for 501c3 Non-Profit Status through Motherhood Foundation Inc., 2005. Traveling exhibits & Conferences and Online Presence 2006-2010. First full-time exhibition space opened UES Manhattan 2011.We are the first and only facility of its kind.
Mission The Museum of Motherhood is a science, art, and history center that explores the subject of motherhood, fatherhood, and family – past, present, and future.   Our mission is to start great conversations, create thought-provoking exhibits and share information and education from diverse, inclusive, multicultural perspectives.
Reach The museum had approximately 20,000 visitors between September 2011-April, 2014 at its 401 East 84th St. location. Gymboree franchise owners Deb Whitefield and Barry Hanson donated a 2,500 square foot space. Annual academic conferences gathered yearly and featured international panels of presenters including participants from Russia, Israel, Brazil, England and Australia, as well as representatives from a wide variety of American universities.Travelers from Angola, Mexico and the Netherlands (to name a few) made the museum a destination. Interns from local colleges and high schools made up approximately 60 volunteer and research participants each year. The museum served the community offering support, classes, and a play space.
Building Needs Goals include obtaining a permanent facility.
Vision The museum programs aim to shed light on caregiving, global family traditions, new technologies, fathers, the art of motherhood and women in society, thus supporting families and educating future generations.
Phased Application The museum was able to leverage community volunteers, and interns, plus a small staff to implement it’s programming, website and mission, but needs a real estate donation and robust executive board for further development. Business took in approximately $4,500 per month plus corporate donations: tours, party rentals and daily play space usage. M.O.M. received a MAP grant from American Alliance of Museums 2012-2013.
Current Status Pop-Up exhibit on display at Manhattan College Aug-Dec. 2014. MOM Conference and Hall of Fame planned, May 2015. Book fair is planned with Barnes and Noble May 6-10th to raise funds for M.O.M. Advisory Board is active. Director is online, blogging with social media, and has three interns and active community volunteers.Please contact founder M. Joy Rose about our current goals.

Meet Our New Intern, Jenny [CLICK]

photoA 2010 graduate of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, Jenny Nigro first became interested in the topics of motherhood/maternity during the summer before her senior year. She spent the time both working as a mother’s helper and interning for a non-profit that supported pregnant and parenting teens in her community. In working with the teens, she observed how social institutions (the education and healthcare systems, for example) systematically deny teen mothers options for healthy choices on behalf of themselves and their babies. The resilience demonstrated by the clients of the program empowered Jenny to ask questions about ways to broaden resources for mothers, regardless of race, class, or age. Following college, she spent some time in the domestic violence field – both at the state level with the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence – and the local level, working as a case manager for a domestic violence service provider. She has returned to these questions about expanding access for mothers and is now supporting motherhood in a different way – working as a nanny while pursuing training to become a doula. She is excited to explore her intellectual curiosities about motherhood and society vis-a-vis the immersive platform of the Museum of Motherhood. @Spinningest_Jen

The Woes of PMS

imagesGoogle Images 

Severe PMS as a Mental Disorder

As a first year clinical psychology graduate student, I had mixed feelings when I learned that severe Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) was officially recognized as a mental illness in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Fifth Edition (DSM-5; a diagnostic tool used by therapists worldwide). Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), “a condition characterized by intense emotional and physical symptoms that occur between ovulation and menstruation”, is categorized under depressive disorders. It is a supercharged version of PMS, in which affected women experience extreme mood shifts that could disrupt their work and damage their relationships in addition to the regular PMS symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, and changes in sleep and eating habits. 75 percent of women are estimated to experience some form of PMS whereas 3 to 9 percent report symptoms of PMDD.

PMDD’s symptoms such as markedly depressed mood, decreased interest in usual activities, lack of energy, hypersomnia or insomnia, are similar to Major Depressive Disorder’s (MDD) yet they are cyclical, and occur between ovulation and menstruation. To qualify for diagnosis, one needs to show five of 11 potential symptoms in the week before the menses, and the symptoms should cause disruption with work, school, usual activities or relationships with others. As for the treatment, counseling, antidepressants, birth control pills, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, diet and lifestyle changes are suggested. More detail on treatment approaches can be found here.

Currently, it is believed that normal hormonal fluctuations interact with serotonin systems, which in turn triggers pain, anxiety and depressive symptoms. Also PMDD has been associated with history of sexual abuse, domestic violence and perceived sexual discrimination as well as past unipolar depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. On the other hand, Caplan, a research associate at Harvard University, claims that societal and interpersonal factors are usually the main cause rather than biological ones. She described PMS symptoms as the “last straw” for women in difficult life situations such as domestic abuse or job loss.

Although, PMDD has been included in the DSM for a long time now, many health professionals debate its existence and usefulness. The proponents argue that validation of the discomfort will encourage additional research and development of new therapies, and recognize women have special needs in mental health. Moreover, they argue that acknowledgment will increase the likelihood of insurance coverage and even alleviate the stigma attached.

On the other hand, a comprehensive literature research on the issue summarized the following as the reasons for opposing inclusion of PMDD as a mental disorder. The arguments are as the follows:

Concern 1: the PMDD label will harm women economically, politically, legally, and domestically

Concern 2: Putting a label on hormonal changes only in women is harmful

Concern 3: Research validating PMDD has been faulty

Concern 4: PMDD is a culture-bound condition

Concern 5: PMDD is due to situational, rather than biological, factors

Concern 6: PMDD was fabricated by pharmaceutical companies for financial gain.

Although the current evidence validates PMDD’s existence, personally, I was ambivalent about recognizing it as a mental disorder since the diagnosis can pathologize the menstrual cycle and stigmatize affected women by labeling them as ‘mentally ill’. Also, such labeling can prevent the individuals from discovering other factors in their lives that may be causing distress. I hope recognizing PMDD will not prevent the mental health professional from exploring potential causes other than the hormonal changes.

Yet as Chrisler states, whether PMDD is a mental disorder or not, it’s important to validate women’s experiences since “Whatever they’re experiencing, they’re experiencing”.

Essential Reading List & Motherhood Hall of Fame [CLICK]


Barnes & Noble and the Museum of Motherhood are having a book fair to raise funds for M.O.M. May 6-10, 2015

Recommend books for M.O.M.’s essential reading list. What does every woman (or man) who mothers need to read? Help us create an amazing list of books.

NOMINATE BOOKS for our “Essential Reading List.” Also suggest a person or group to host one of the Barnes & Noble evenings in NYC.  The Mom Egg Literary Review will be participating as one of our group evenings.



Academic Motherhood- Elizabeth’s Story!

My name is Elizabeth Salem, and I am a wife, the mother of two, and a caregiver. I am also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Case Western Reserve University. I study the nineteenth-century United States, women’s history, and the history of medicine.

Having gone from a single girl to a wife to a mother while working my way through graduate school, I can now say that motherhood has changed my academic experience far more profoundly than getting married ever did. It is not simply a matter of the sleepless nights and having to put family concerns above my work, but realizing that society’s expectations of who I am and what I can do changed the second I gave birth. I’ve learned that these expectations, and, by extension, those of the academy, are unrealistic and a giant structural problem. Becoming a caregiver for my husband’s parents only exacerbated these lessons, bringing home to me everything I’ve learned from my women’s history classes about household labor and economics.

My husband and I manage. We try to balance our work with our family life. I spend a lot of time writing early in the morning, late at night, and during what feels like stolen hours at the local library. There are other days when the house and our family take priority, and my dissertation notes collect dust on my bedroom floor. I work hard at remembering that all parts of this life we have built are equally valuable. That all of my work, academic or not, is important.

Of course there are days when I question what I am doing…I read the blog posts about “having it all” or “leaning in” and feel lousy about how I seem to do far too many things far too inadequately. I study Catholic mysticism and Buddhist mindfulness and ask myself why I’m studying a past that no longer exists anyway. I clean up after my kids and worry about my in-laws and put out all of the fires, and wonder if pursuing a doctorate will even be worth it when I’m done.

I have no simple answers. I don’t want to be glib about my experiences, or tell you that I have somehow figured this out. I have no idea what the future will bring. (The future also doesn’t exist, if you think about it.)

So here is what I do know, after a decade in the ivory tower:

1. I am a better mother and a better scholar because I am both of these things. It is amazing how quickly you can focus in on your writing when you realize that you have to write in fifteen-minute stretches. It is also amazing how knowing the history of American women can give you solace as a parent, when you realize that the ancestors went through all of this crazy too.

2. I am not always fine. And that’s okay. When I began graduate school, and, frankly, up until very, very recently, I tried never to show any weaknesses. I was always fine. I was always up for any assignment or job. Anyone could ask me for help, but I’d be damned before I’d admit to needing any. Somehow the hardships of parenting and caregiving were not going to apply to me, simply because I said they wouldn’t. Umm, yeah. You can guess how well that went. My children and my in-laws have taught me a great deal of humility. I have learned that I am not always all right. I have learned how to say no. Most importantly, I have learned how to fall flat on my face and how to get up again.

3. I am not alone. And everyone is “good enough.” Graduate school can be profoundly isolating. We’re trained in the fine art of living inside of our own heads, and to compare our work constantly to that of others and find it lacking. Slap marriage, caregiving, and parenthood on top of that and you can see why so many of us, students and professors alike, are having a difficult time. Life is a complicated, messy, and beautiful thing, however. The shadows and the light coexist. We don’t need to be perfect because, ultimately, we already are. Despite the pressures that both academia and parenting put on us regarding what we should be doing, at the end of the day, who we are as human beings is far more important than how well we perform a role.