Motherhood: Messy and Real

For many people Mother’s Day is full of love and celebration. Families gather to honor the ones who brought them into this world and provided them with love, guidance, and protection. The act of giving birth by itself is a difficult and life altering process for people with uteruses to experience, with so many changes to our bodies and the resulting changes to our lives. For this reason, mothers and motherhood are often put on a pedestal.

But some of us eventually learn that most moms aren’t like Marmie from Little Women.  As we grow up, we get to see that our mothers are real people, with quirks and flaws.

Mother’s Day can bring up tough emotions for those who didn’t grow up with a mother, or have experienced loss because of a strained relationship, because of personal struggles in the process of becoming a mother, and many other reasons. Below we’ve gathered a list of books and movies that depict motherhood in all of its different forms - unconventional, messy, and real.

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Motherhood and Identity

I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness


Where'd You Go, Bernadette

With the Fire on High

Difficulty with Fertility

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted

Little Fires Everywhere

The Light Between Oceans

The Time Traveler's Wife


Crying in H Mart

The Glass Castle

Are You My Mother?

The Ugly Cry

What My Bones Know

Mothers and Daughters

Girl, Woman, Other

Olga Dies Dreaming


The Joy Luck Club

The Other Bennet Sister

Reluctant Mothers

Pizza Girl

The Lost DaughterThe Mothers

Having It All


How Hard Can It Be?

I Don't Know How She Does It

Leave Me

Movies About Motherhood


Lady Bird

Steel Magnolias

Terms of Endearment

Mothers in Horror Movies

The Babadook



Rosemary's Baby

We Need to Talk About Kevin