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    The psychological effects of becoming “Mum”: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

    Scott, Jane (2010) The psychological effects of becoming “Mum”: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Thames Valley University London.


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    The transition to the role of motherhood affects nearly all aspects of a woman’s life: her identity, priorities, responsibilities, as well as her interpersonal relationships and interactions with the external world. The aim of this qualitative study was to comprehend how women, who had previously led successful careers, interpreted and adjusted to their new maternal identities. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with five older mothers (mean age 40 years), with children under the age of 5, on their retrospective experiences of motherhood and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Five master themes emerged from the data including: “the renegotiation of marital roles”, “self-constructed motherhood”, “ghosts of own childhood”, “personal self – impact of initial transition”, and “personal self - striving for a new sense of identity”. Overall, the findings highlight the paradoxical effects of motherhood; from self-doubt and loss of autonomy, to overwhelming joy and a sense of achievement. The findings are compared to previous studies on the transition to motherhood and future research is suggested.

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