When it comes to motherhood, there are no set rules on how to go about it and what will make someone the perfect mother or the best mother. On the contrary, a woman will do what she believes is the best for her and her children in every situation they go through. For Hispanic women, motherhood is usually something encouraged by their entire family with a long discussion of getting too old to have children, finding the right partner, doing it alone, or not doing it at all. This of Hispanic motherhood has been depicted perfectly on TV.

Throughout the decades, TV shows have given us a look into Hispanic motherhood from different perspectives. We have seen women who do it on their own, who didn’t plan to be pregnant, who changed their minds, or who have merged their families with that of their new family. In every case, these mothers have done their best to give their children the best life possible.

Here are five types of Hispanic motherhood represented on TV.

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Generational Parenting

The cast of One Day at a Time against a yellow background.

It is very common in Hispanic culture for mothers to pass down traditions and beliefs to their daughters when it is their turn to experience motherhood. That is exactly what Lydia (Rita Moreno) tries to do with Penelope (Justina Machado) on One Day at a Time. She believes because she is older, she will have all the knowledge that Penelope needs. That is right to an extent. Penelope is going through circumstances with her children that Lydia has no experience with.

The best parenting moment between these two women comes when Elena (Isabella Gomez) comes out. Even though they are all afraid of how Lydia will react, she is able to process it and understand it quickly. It is Penelope who is struggling a bit more and seeing her mom’s reaction helps her accept her daughter faster.

Although both women come from different generations, their goal as mothers has always been the happiness of their children. This is something they realize as the episodes go by and they come to understand they have more in common than they realize.

Unexpected Motherhood

The premise of Jane The Virgin is a woman who goes into her doctor’s office for a routine appointment and ends up being inseminated by a specimen that was supposed to be for the patient in the next room. From that moment on, Jane Villanueva’s (Gina Rodriguez) life changes forever.

In this case, we have a Hispanic woman who didn’t choose motherhood, it was thrown on her. Jane never planned on having a baby at that age as she was focusing on her studies to become a teacher. Nevertheless, the show gives an insight into how challenging motherhood can be (even more so if it wasn’t planned), but how rewarding it also can be.

For Jane, getting pregnant by accident and deciding to keep the baby goes hand-in-hand with her religion. Many Hispanic folks have strong ties to Catholicism, making sure that the decisions they make would be approved by their religion. This is something that becomes very obvious throughout the series with Jane’s decisions and behavior.

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Two Moms, One Dad

Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) was one of the first and best representations of bisexuality on television. As viewers, we got to witness the entire journey with her sexuality. From coming to realize she liked men and women, to finding the love of her life, dealing with the rejection from her parents, and becoming a mother. Sexuality is usually a taboo topic in Hispanic families, so Grey’s Anatomy gave us from the beginning very accurate representation. Luckily, in Callie’s case, her father came to terms with her sexuality.

Callie’s sexuality was always discussed on the show, particularly after her one-night stand with Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) which resulted in her pregnancy. This immediately brought chaos to the show as Callie had to tell Arizona about it. Even though the two women argued and were conflicted at first, they were able to reconcile and both became a mother to their daughter.

This time around, Grey’s Anatomy gave us the portrayal of how different families can be. In Callie’s case, her daughter ended up having two mothers and one father. Her family ended up being a combination of cultures, relationships, and understandings.

Merged Family

Manny (played by Rico Rodriguez)walks next to his mom, Gloria (played by Sofia Vergara) as she holds her toddler on Modern Family.

Gloria Delgado-Pritchett (Sofía Vergara) is one of the most recognized and respected Hispanic characters on TV. From her very first appearance on Modern Family until the last, she was a very important character that allowed Hispanic immigrants (particularly women) to feel seen and represented.

When it came to motherhood, Gloria introduced two different themes. On the one hand, she was the image of a single mother. Before she married Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) she had already had a son. On the other hand, her situation allowed a discussion on the topic of merged families. Jay helped her raise her son, made her a part of his family, and then they had a child together.

Merged families are common in Hispanic culture, particularly for immigrants who have found themselves remarrying someone from a different culture — introducing their families to new ways of living.

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Change of Mind and Heart

Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) is the perfect representation of a Hispanic woman who at first didn’t want to have children but ended up changing her mind and her heart. Desperate Housewives first introduced us to this woman as your typical former model who cared about her image and wouldn’t let anything ruin that.

However, as the seasons went by, Gabrielle evolved as a person and this meant her thinking evolved too. It was then that she became a mother and the change in her persona became more obvious. She cared about her daughters and was willing to do anything to keep them safe. The perfect way to show that women have the right to change their minds about having or not having children.

Gabrielle’s family was also a beautiful representation of what a modern Hispanic family looks like. The different struggles they go through and the connections they have with their roots.

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Lara Rosales
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