#Renaming Revolution: The Motherhood and Fertility Glossary

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In many areas, people are giving serious consideration to how the language we use influences how we see ourselves and how we see others.

As a bit of background, Peanut—a social networking site for mothers and those hoping to become mothers—launched in 2017. The goal was to foster friendships among those who felt isolated and in need of social support.

And then something remarkable happened. “After thousands of women on Peanut came forward to share the hurtful terms they’ve experienced throughout fertility and motherhood, it was clear to us that something needed to change. The #RenamingRevolution glossary, created with linguists and medical professionals, aims to redefine the negative terms that are too often used during the most vulnerable times in women’s lives.”

Visit the #RenamingRevolution: The Motherhood and Fertility Glossary.

The glossary is divided into five sections: fertility, loss, pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. I confess that before reading the glossary, I thought, “I am happy to use whatever language you would like, but how bad can the existing language be?” I was not too far into the glossary when I started feeling pretty beat up, and I’m pretty disconnected from motherhood and all things motherhood-related. How would you like to be told that you are barren or that you have a hostile uterus, an incompetent cervix, or a lazy ovary? Or that you are a habitual aborter? Or that at the age of 35, you are looking at a geriatric pregnancy? Or that when you have been in labor for so many hours that exhaustion has set in and the healthcare providers note your “poor maternal effort”?

When covering the development chapter in Intro or teaching the developmental psych course, it may be valuable to use this glossary not only to help us revamp our own terminology, but also as a way to encourage students to think about the impact the language we use can have. In this case, it is an especially important lesson for all of our students who are preparing for careers in healthcare.

If you would like a print copy of the glossary, fill out their form.

If you would like to include the glossary in a page in your learning management system, this embed code should work for you.

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About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology since 1992. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award. She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed. and is co-author with Charles Stangor on Introduction to Psychology, 4.0.