Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What a "Good" Mother Would Do: The Ethics of Ambivalence by Sarah LaChance Adams

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 28 (1):1-7 (2018)
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When a mother deliberately harms her child, it is tempting to assume that she must be either insane or lacking the "natural" love of a mother for her children. We want to believe that such mothers have almost nothing in common with "good" mothers. Drawing extensively on empirical research, Sarah LaChance Adams' Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What A "Good" Mother Would Do shows that maternal ambivalence, simultaneous desires to nurture and violently reject one's children, is both common and reasonable, the result of genuine conflicts between mothers' interests and those of their children. Both appropriate support and deliberative agency are necessary to avoid maternal ambivalence...

Author's Profile

Fiona Woollard
University of Southampton


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