Taking the other out of mother: the transition to secondtime motherhood

Frost, Nollaig (1996) Taking the other out of mother: the transition to secondtime motherhood. In: "Mobility and conflict", Psychology of Women Section, 5 to 7 July 2006, Manchester Metropolitan University. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


Aim: Research into maternal identity often focuses on the transition to motherhood (Smith, 1999; Miller, 2004) and the mother-child bond (e.g. Winnicott, 1956). The literature around mothers is frequently infantocentric and the emphasis on the initial transition brings an inherent assumption of just one child. When the newborn is the second child different understandings are required. By examining accounts of expectation and reality this paper seeks to explore the transition to second time motherhood.
Method: Semi-structured interviews with women were carried out from six months into pregnancy. The data was interrogated using narrative analysis. Feminist, psychoanalytic understanding was applied to interpret the narratives and gain insight to the psychological processes and experiences described by these women through their storytelling.
Findings: The reawakening of psychic conflicts and fantasies were identified in stories of the birth. Expectations were constructed using previous experience, social discourses and individual psychological processes. Realities often differed to the fantasies constructed in pregnancy. Stories of immobility during pregnancy and when encumbered with the extra equipment needed for life with two young children gave an understanding of the sense of availability and use of the womens’ space – taking it up physically and losing it psychologically.
Implications: The study has shown that having a second child enables experience to contribute to a second awakening of inner conflict, fears and fantasies. Whilst this may mediate expectations it does not preclude an uninvited recurrence of psychic processes already experienced first time around or unexpected realities of having a second child.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Applied Health Psychology group
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research group
Item ID: 5023
Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2010 05:19
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2017 12:49
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/5023

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