Biographical "disruption" in first-time mothers' reflections on the transition to motherhood




Treloar, Adrienne Elizabeth Bonfonti

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The purpose of this thesis was to examine how first-time mothers' experiences during the transition into motherhood reflect biographical 'flows' or 'disruptions' when contextualized within their life course trajectories. I used a qualitative research design with narrative methods of data collection and analysis to explore participants' reproductive life courses. I collected data through in-depth and open-ended questions during face-to-face, retrospective, episodic narrative interviews with a purposive sample of 14 first-time mothers 12-17 months postpartum. Data indicate that all of the first-time mothers experienced the transition to motherhood as a biographical disruption, but that different types of disruption were evident. The three typologies of disruption identified are: motherhood as a 'fresh start,' a prolonged limbo between life before and after motherhood, and achievement of womanhood or adulthood. Four sub-themes are also evident in the data: weight and body-image, sexual/maternal breast usage, 'advanced maternal age', and social support provided by participants' mothers.



Mothers, Motherhood