(Re)Birth of the self: ordinary women's complex journey into new motherhood. A feminist poststructural narrative study. Volumes I and II

PhD Thesis


Raith, Lisa. 2008. (Re)Birth of the self: ordinary women's complex journey into new motherhood. A feminist poststructural narrative study. Volumes I and II. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

(Re)Birth of the self: ordinary women's complex journey into new motherhood. A feminist poststructural narrative study. Volumes I and II

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorRaith, Lisa
SupervisorRogers-Clark, Cath
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages404
Year2008
Abstract

[Abstract]This doctoral research explored Australian mothers’ unique, engaging, and predominantly enjoyable transitions to early motherhood. Their expectations, beliefs, and experiences were investigated using narrative and thematic analyses underpinned by a feminist, poststructural methodology. The 10 participants in this study were white, middle-class, heterosexual, partnered, and able-bodied women living in south-east Queensland and expecting their first child. In-depth ante- and postnatal interviews were conducted at the 2nd trimester of pregnancy and 8 months post-birth respectively. These women experienced the early motherhood journey as an unsettled period which necessitated the utilisation of four, often contradictory, maternal identities. The four identities, or voices, were Ideal Mother; Challenged, Practical Self; Extended, Spiritual Self; and Independent Self. This research has shown that becoming a mother for contemporary Australian women is simultaneously joyful, thrilling, confronting, depressing, constraining, and empowering. Thus, the transition to motherhood was a complex and chaotic experience which confronted their sense of self. Moreover, it is clear that young women are often under prepared for the paradoxes and intensity of their journeys. My thesis is that for these contemporary Australian women, becoming a mother necessitated drawing on four dominant, often contradictory voices or identities resulting in a complex transitional experience of individual and personal negotiation and integration. The complexity of this life-transition defies simple explanation and solution. Regardless, the findings suggest that all the stories of mothering need to be told to make them equally real, valid, valuable, and normal. Thus can we find and develop new and useful models of modern motherhood to enable policy makers and health practitioners to provide more informed, particular, and empathetic support for new Australian mothers, as well as strengthen future mothers for and feel positive about their mothering careers.

Keywordsearly motherhood; Queensland; feminist
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420499. Midwifery not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsOffice of Research
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Related outputs

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