Mothers in Transition, A Study of the Changing Life Course

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Article first published online: November 20, ; Issue published: Abstract Full Text References Abstract. English French Spanish; Castilian The life course of Chilean women has experienced profound transformations in the past decades. Remember me Forgotten your password? Subscribe to this journal. Vol 66, Issue 5, Tips on citation download. Revista de la Academia Aportes para un debate interdisciplinario.

Araujo, K, Martuccelli, D Beyond institutional individualism: Agentic individualism and the individuation process in Chilean society. Current Sociology 62 1: Arriagada, I Cambios y continuidades en las familias latinoamericanas. Efectos del descenso de la fecundidad. Santiago de Chile, Chile , 9—11 June Institutionalized Individualism and its Social and Political Consequences. Assessing the individualization thesis across the life course.

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Ediciones Universidad Alberto Hurtado , pp. Perceiving their infant as less vulnerable, mothers cautiously restored activities with friends and resumed attending church. Liminality and ambiguity were replaced by confidence in their mothering and incorporation of the infant into a sustained social network of family and friends. This theoretical perspective allowed for examination of the social context of maternal development.

Mothers first narrowed and then widened their social worlds over time in order to link the lives of their new infant with their families and other significant persons. These spheres widened later when mothers perceived their infants as less vulnerable and their confidence increased in their ability to manage infant care.

At home, mothers claimed their role as primary protector and care provider without the constraints that the NICU imposed. Maternal role and identity were key issues in navigating the difficulties of mothering in a confusing technological context and a narrowed social sphere. First-time mothers faced the challenge of mothering without previous experience through which they felt competent. They worked at feeling like a mother first, and then the mother of this specific child.

Experienced mothers were more confident in their maternal role and caretaking skills but still needed to accommodate this infant into the existing family structure and social world.

Mothers employed two distinct measures to reduce liminality associated with their transition to motherhood of this child. First, they exhibited a high degree of protectiveness. In our analysis using life course theory, the transition into motherhood varied between first-time mothers and women with mothering experience, a phenomenon reported by Rubin in early work on maternal role attainment.

More recently, Mercer challenged the concept of maternal role attainment, suggesting that the process of becoming a mother begins before or during pregnancy and ends when the woman has achieved the maternal identity, around 4 months postpartum. For women with no previous mothering experience, the birth of a preterm infant impels them into the parenting trajectory prematurely, marking a particularly ambiguous transition where maternal identity is as yet unclaimed. The nature of medically fragile infants is typified by uncertainty and frequent health setbacks, complicating but not precluding becoming a mother.

Although commonalities existed among mothers of medically fragile preterm infants, idiosyncratic events and responses shaped how each woman comes to identify herself as mother of this infant. This is similar to the finding of Miles and Frauman in their study of 15 medically fragile preterm and fullterm infants. These concerns and ambivalence are imbedded in the experiences of mothers whose pregnancy were complicated by a high-risk condition and preterm delivery. Mothers whose preterm infants become medically fragile encounter additional challenges that both mirror and magnify the concerns of mothers of healthy infants.

Protecting the vulnerable infant became the means to preserve the opportunity to mother this child fully. In overcoming successfully the obstacles that mothering a medically fragile preterm infant posed, women themselves underwent substantial development and maturation. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

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Author manuscript; available in PMC Jan 1. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract Life course theory, a sociological framework, was used to analyze the phenomenon of becoming a mother, with longitudinal narrative data from 34 women who gave birth prematurely after a high-risk pregnancy, and whose infant became medically fragile. Principles Prior to the development of life course theory, social scientists explained human behavior in two ways.

Time and place Human lives are shaped by questions of when and where in a sociohistorical sense, making the principle of time and place foundational to life course research. Life span development The second principle, life span development, is characterized by the view that humans develop in biologically, socially, and psychologically meaningful ways beyond childhood Elder et al.

Agency Agency is based on the assumption that humans are not passive recipients of a predetermined life course but make decisions that determine the shape their lives. Key Life Course Concepts: Trajectory, Transition and Turning Point In addition to these principles, three key and related concepts — trajectory, transition, and turning point — are commonly used in life course research to describe human developmental phenomena.

Mothering the Medically-Fragile Preterm Infant Becoming a mother means moving from a known to an unknown reality Mercer, Method This study is a secondary analysis of data from a longitudinal study of medically fragile infants, the process of parental role attainment, and its influence on parenting outcomes Miles et al.

Sample For this study, data were analyzed from 34 mothers of these infants who met inclusion criteria: Means SD Range Maternal age Open in a separate window. Data Analysis Data were analyzed by one investigator, although research team meetings were held to discuss the ongoing analysis. Choices and Actions Related to the Pregnancy and Mothering Experience Issues of agency were most salient to women at two particular occasions: Network of Shared Relationships The principle of linked lives explains the ways that mothers formed social and emotional linkages with their infants.

Acknowledgments Contract grant sponsor: A challenging intervention with maternal anxiety: Babies requiring surgical correction of a congenital anomaly after missed prenatal diagnosis. Infant Mental Health Journal.

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