This special issue of Women: A Cultural Review explores the diversity of maternal images proffered by various media formats, including cinema, literature and visual art, in the twenty-first century. The editors begin their introduction with an overview of recent research on maternal representation, then introduce the primary thematic concerns that feature in the included articles. They look at how mothers whose mothering experiences do not reflect conventional family models-particularly single mothers, LGBQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer/questioning) mothers and migrant mothers-have been either sidelined by or misrepresented in cultural and media depictions of motherhood, and how these depictions have begun to evolve in recent years. They additionally explore how the idealization of motherhood in mainstream culture casts women who choose not to have children in a negative light. Ultimately, they point to how the images, representations and constructions of motherhood analysed by the various contributors both reflect and contribute to the shaping of contemporary cultural meanings of motherhood.