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Lecture 6 – Women‟s Psych 2/15/2012 5:09:00 PM
Finish Lifestyles – from last week
Chapter 10, Mothering and first-time parents.
First-time parents study
Chapter 9, Sexuality – no written questions on Ch 9
The “Mines” article – handout and questions will be given out.
Images of Mothers and Mothering
Don‟t bother copying the quotes
“Mother is one of the most fundamental archetypes of woman, and
motherhood has been regarded as women‟s ultimate source of power and
…Like marriage, motherhood is an institution. Its meaning goes beyond the
biological processes of reproduction, encompassing many customs,
traditions, beliefs, attitudes, rules and laws…
…It has a powerful symbolic component. Yet women who become
mothers…are individuals. „Mother is a role; women are human beings‟
(Bernard, 1974, p. 7)…
Motherhood has different meanings to different women”.
(Crawford & Unger, 2000, pp 346-7)
Is there a motherhood mystique?
Strong beliefs about motherhood in Western society
o Inherently good, maternal instincts, altruistic, being a mother
automatically makes you a better person, women are
expected to become mothers beliefs that having children is
the most important thing
“Motherhood mystique and myths… (Crawford & Unger, p.347)
Ultimate fulfillment as a woman is achieved through motherhood
Natural, necessary for all women
One‟s who don‟t want to be mothers are psychologically disturbed
Want but can‟t? Then fundamentally deprived
Women are naturally good at caregiving and should be responsible
for infants, children, the elderly, home, husband
Those who experience conflicts are maladjusted or poorly organized
“A mother has infinite patience and willingness to sacrifice herself
she is an inadequate mother if she puts herself first…
A women‟s full-time devotion to being a mother is best for her
o What‟s best for the children depends on circumstance
Women who work are inferior mothers…
(Crawford & Unger, p. 347)
Are these outdated beliefs?
Yes, impossible to live on one income in our time
in advice to mothers
best-selling child rearing manuals
Motherhood is important to many (most?)women
However we should remember that:
the majority of mothers work for pay
not all women wish to be mothers
fathers also can/should an important role
Depression following childbirth
o Can affect the family
o Baby blues
o Post-partum depression
Clinical depression, not just feeling blue
o Has she had depression before?
o Social and interpersonal?