Mother: The Maternal Experience and Impact on One's Child

By: Emma Hodge

This zine is an exploration of the social, biological, and epigenetic ways in which a mother interacts with her child.

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This project was inspired by my curiosity about how the mental health of a mother is influenced by the experience of pregnancy and motherhood, and in turn, how her mental health can impact her child’s development and well-being. For this project, I researched topics including the immigrant mother experience, the influence of abortion access on women’s mental health, the effects of postpartum depression on both mother and child, and the epigenetic programming of a fetus by the maternal body. Paired with each article is at least one image of work by an artist depicting the complicated experiences of pregnancy and motherhood. One theme of this zine is that healthcare access is absolutely essential to the health of both mother and child. There exist many social and structural barriers to care for pregnant women and mothers, such as immigration status, stigmas attached to mental illness, and government regulations (especially in the case of abortion), to name only a few. As a society, we have a responsibility to increase access to healthcare for women of all backgrounds in order to protect the health of future generations. Findings from epigenetic studies suggest that interventions aimed at improving the mental and physical health of women will also prevent negative health outcomes in their children. A major goal of this zine is to make a case for why special focus should be placed on the wellness and empowerment of mothers – and women in general – by all members of our society.

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