Lifetime's 'The Other Mother' Will Feel Familiar

by Kayla Hawkins

If you're a fan of Lifetime movies, you've probably noticed that the network has been celebrating Mother's Day surprisingly early, with lots of movie premieres about times when being a mom goes wrong, ranging from ripped from the headlines retellings to original stories. Is Lifetime movie The Other Mother based on a true story, or does it fall on the fictional side of the divide? What's interesting is that while the story and characters are original, the title isn't. I'm not saying it isn't a good fit — The Other Mother matches perfectly with the horror-tinged story of how a woman's husband remarries someone else, pushing her out of the family slowly and driving her to — but the phrase has been used before, several times, in fact.

To start, The Other Mother: The Moment of Truth is also the title of a TV movie from 1995 based on the book of the same name by Carol Schaefer about her real-life struggle to find the child she gave birth to after being giving him up for adoption eighteen years earlier. Throughout the course of the book, she contemplates the nature of parenthood and explains through her story how adoptive parents can struggle with their relationship with their children well into adulthood. Schaefer went on to write more books, and even updates her blog regularly.

And, of course, it's not a Lifetime movie, but the first thing I thought of when I heard "Other Mother" was Coraline, a children's book and movie (both totally fictional, obviously). In the eerie, atmospheric world of the story, the protagonist, Coraline, travels to a secret parallel universe where there's an alternate version of her family ruled by the "Other Mother," who is more glamorous, charming, and permissive than her real mother, but with black buttons sewn in place of her eyes. It's the type of image that will stick with you, and definitely is the stuff of nightmares if you read the book as a kid (ask me how I know that). Since the book was released in 2002, it's become one of the go-to associations for the phrase "Other Mother."

Other than the title, though, there's no real world inspiration for Lifetime's 2017 The Other Mother, nor is it really based on any of the other Other Mothers. It's just a popular turn of phrase applied to a thriller about the perils of divorce when you're a mom living inside the Lifetime movie universe — you just might find yourself replaced by your ex's new wife.