The Costs of Idealizing Motherhood

In her 25 years as a therapist, Hanks has long noticed that most women express feelings of guilt, shame, conflict and inadequacy when talking about motherhood. In her own life, she’s noticed that no matter how she’s tried combine family, professional, and creative pursuits, powerful external messages have threatened to undermine her confidence as a mother. Hanks has spent her life asking and researching questions about women, gender roles and family life. It has become clear to Hanks that our idealized views of motherhood isolate women and fail to support them in the actual work of mothering. In this talk, Hanks promotes the idea that motherhood is a unique human relationship to which every mother should proudly bring her own individual strengths and preferences. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, PhD, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist specializing in women’s emotional health and relationships. Dr. Hanks is the founder and director of Wasatch Family Therapy, author of The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide for Women, a blogger, a local and national media contributor, a blogger, a coach, a private practice consultant, and an award-winning performing songwriter. A native Californian, Hanks currently lives in Utah with her husband. They are the parents of 4 children. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at


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