Motherhood and the Construction of

Motherhood and the Construction of - Motherhood and the...

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Motherhood and the Construction of ‘‘Mommy Identity’’: Messages about Motherhood and Face Negotiation This study examined women’s attitudes about motherhood by utilizing the concept of ‘‘face’’ (Goffman, 1967) and the role memorable messages play in the construction of women’s identities as mothers. Results suggested that women could recall messages from a variety of sources, including family members and other mothers. Participants generally reported that they did not seek to maintain a ‘‘good mother face’’ for others, yet when asked to provide reasons why they engaged in facework behaviors, they provided a variety of reasons such as acceptance and approval. Keywords: Face Negotiation; Identity; Memorable Messages; Mothers The transition into ‘‘parenthood’’ can be an emotional and turbulent time for any individual, especially a new mother. For instance, hormonal and physical changes 1991). However, the challenges for women are not only biological. Researchers have found that maternal depression after the birth of a child was also correlated with marital satisfaction, social boredom, and negative body image (Anderson, Fleming, post-partum months were less likely to seek out information about child rearing (Anderson et al., 1994) and had more negative attitudes about caring for their Jennifer M. Heisler (PhD, Michigan State University, 2001) is an associate professor in Oakland University’s Department of Communication and Journalism. Jennifer Butler Ellis (PhD, Michigan State University, 2001) the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. Correspondence: Jennifer M. Heisler, Department of Communication and Journalism, 427 Wilson Hall, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309; E-mail: [email protected] Communication Quarterly Vol. 56, No. 4, November 2008, pp. 445–467 ISSN 0146-3373 print/1746-4102 online # 2008 Eastern Communication Association DOI: 10.1080/01463370802448246 and psychological changes occurring in women during pregnancy and the transition to motherhood may have implications for the whole family system. Research on family influence has suggested that new parents often rely upon their families of origin as references for their new roles as parents (Massey, 1986). Indeed, these extended networks often provide social support and serve to alleviate stress and encourage well-being during life transitions (i.e., births) and crises (Gottlieb, 1994), such as divorce. The U.S. Census Bureaus reports ‘‘the number of grandchildren living in households maintained by grandparents with just their mothers present
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This note was uploaded on 02/16/2011 for the course COMMUNICAT 301 taught by Professor Bogino during the Spring '11 term at George Mason.

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Motherhood and the Construction of - Motherhood and the...

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