Problematising older motherhood in Canada: ageism, ableism, and the risky maternal subjectAuthor: Francesca Scala, Michael Orsini Category: Health, Risk & Society, Risk governance and governmentality Publisher: Taylor & Francis Online Year:: 2022 Lenguage: EN Tags: ableism | ageism | biopolitics. intensive motherhood ideology | older motherhood | risk |
Risk governance and governmentality
Problematising older motherhood in Canada: ageism, ableism, and the risky maternal subject
This article examines how older motherhood and older mothers are problematised and represented in key Canadian policy texts on ‘delayed childbearing’ and ‘advanced maternal age’. Drawing on critical disability studies and feminist scholarship on motherhood, we identify three kinds of representations of older mothers in these texts: as risk-producing subjects, as unnatural mothers, and as irresponsible reproductive citizens. We argue that dominant discourses of older motherhood are structured by both ageism and ableism, which undergird policy documents. These discourses frame older women as disabled by the ‘burden’ of late parenthood and cast them as risky subjects who might give birth to ‘abnormal’ offspring. Within this discursive terrain, older women are not only othered: they are held responsible for their infertility and for their reduced propensity to reproduce ‘healthy,’ non-disabled offspring.