THANK YOU for You Submissions! MOM Conference 2015

MamaExpoHeader9th Annual MOM Conference
– Museum of Motherhood Call for Papers –
“New Maternalisms”: Tales of Motherwork (Dislodging the Unthinkable)

– CFP Deadline Extended to January 15th –

April 30th, May 1st-2nd, NYC 2015

The purpose of this conference focuses on “new maternalisms” and explores “motherwork” and the invisible labor of caregiving in our everyday lived experiences. How do mothers, fathers, and caretakers experience “motherwork” what does it mean? How does “motherwork” impact the communities in which we live and work?

Here are examples of possible topics, but are not limited to:

What caregiving practices are pursued in “motherwork”? How have these practices been shaped by factors such as nation, religion, gender, and other axes of difference? How do caregivers frame/understand their “motherwork”? What alliances do caregivers build locally, regionally, and internationally, and why? To what extent does caregiving intersect with other forms of activism/resistance?

How have wo/men’s identities as caregivers been disrupted or shaped by binaries, such as east/west, north/south? Whose agency is privileged or obscured within “motherwork”? How do global discourses shape local “motherwork,” and, how, in turn, do local issues and frames shape global discourses around “motherwork”? This Call For Papers signals the important sociological and anthropological shifts taking place in the field of motherhood as it relates to wo/men – mothers, father, and caretakers.

We welcome submissions from scholars, students, activists, artists, community agencies, service providers, journalists, mothers and others who work or research in this area. Cross-cultural, historical, and comparative work is encouraged. We also encourage a variety of types of submissions including individual academic papers from all disciplines, proposals for panels, creative submissions, performances, storytelling, visual arts, film, music, audio, and other alternative formats.

Submissions must include a title and a maximum 50-100 word abstract for individual papers, panels, and other submission types (e.g. performance, media, music). Panel submissions must include short abstracts (50-100 word) for each individual paper that will be included in the panel.

All submissions will be peer reviewed with responses by Feb. 2nd. The conference will be held in NYC at the CUNY Graduate Center and Manhattan College. [LINK] to Submit.

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”.