Caitlin Killian explores how society has failed to support moms
November 2023 – Drew University Professor of Sociology Caitlin Killian recently released her latest book, Failing Moms, a look at the expectations of and lack of social support for mothers.
The book focuses on key issues around motherhood, including how women’s reproduction is overly policed while men’s reproductive health is ignored, the way society punishes “bad moms,” and the inequities in the justice system’s treatment of mothers and fathers.
“The double standards begin even prior to pregnancy,” explained Killian. “Mothers feel guilty and inadequate most of the time. They are judged harshly by themselves and others, but they also face health and legal consequences. I argue that the gendered inequality of ‘failure to protect’ prosecutions reveals them to be more about controlling women than protecting children.”
The book, which offers solutions for improving the conditions mothers face and better supporting families, grew out of Killian’s roles as both professor and mother.
“Between my own experiences parenting, reading news stories about moms being punished, and teaching my courses, I developed a strong desire to write this book.”
Killian hopes the book reaches both a general audience and an academic one, having been written with both in mind.
“The research and solutions I’ve outlined can be used in criminology, families, reproduction, and gender courses,” she said. “And moms—and those who love them—need to read this book.”