Motherhod, Sexuality and Reproduction

Motherhod, Sexuality and Reproduction - 10/28/2009 Women...

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10/28/2009 1 Women and Relationships: Motherhood Social understandings and expectations related to motherhood Good mother Motherhood mandate Relevant for women’s choices (esp. birthing process) Challenges in fulfilling these expectations Postpartum challenges Economic challenges Social Understandings: The Meaning of Motherhood The “ motherhood mandate Is it okay to not have children? Who is able to stay home with their children? Who do we approve of staying home? These social expectations (good mother, motherhood mandate, superwoman stereotype) are often internalized and impact self-evaluations as well as the judgments of others throughout infertility, pregnancy, and motherhood. Topic: Childfree vs. Childless Some women choose not to have children child free rather than childless Reasons include : a desire for a flexible lifestyle wanting economic independence not wanting to sacrifice time, energy and identity not wanting to sacrifice relationship satisfaction not enjoying children Perspectives on Staying at Home Middle class women and women with employed partners (who make a lot of money) are most able to stay home Are there any women we don’t approve of staying home? We have very different opinions of single women who stay home with their children and poor women who stay home with their children MOTHERHOOD: STEREOTYPES AND REALITIES Social Understandings: The Meaning of Motherhood The “ good mother ” – what is she like? Personality, activities, appearance Superwoman stereotype Particularly negative stereotypes are applied to ethnic minority mothers (e.g., Latino; African Amer) matriarch stereotype welfare mother stereotype
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10/28/2009 2 Accuracy of Motherhood Stereotypes Lots of women experience uncertainty, fear, and regret as well as joy and hope when expecting. Women’s knowledge of child rearing and child development varies. Physiological, psychological, and economic realities impact women’s abilities to fulfill these expectations, even if they want to. Psychological Challenges: Postpartum Maternal or Baby blues: Feel weepy, irritable, anxious Starts when the baby is about 3 days old and lasts a few days 80% of new moms experience it Usually better with 2 nd baby Psychological Challenges Postpartum depression Severe depression following childbirth Panic attacks, loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, despair, feeling worthless, guilt, can’t sleep, loss of appetite, fatigue, can’t concentrate, thoughts of harming the baby Lasts for weeks or months 1/8 women experience it Psychological Challenges Postpartum depression More likely for women who are first-time moms, young, poor, less educated Women with stressful life events, marital problems, history of depression or mental illness, drastic role change, lack of social support more at risk
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Motherhod, Sexuality and Reproduction - 10/28/2009 Women...

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