Who is the mother? Exploring the meaning of grandparental support in young Swedish mothers’ narratives
2017 (English)In: Feminism and Psychology, ISSN 0959-3535, E-ISSN 1461-7161Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Within the western understanding of a nuclear family and the idea of good motherhood, the need for grandparental support is commonly viewed as an expression of deficient motherhood. Young mothers are often seen as incapable of maternal practices and as being in need of support from their extended family. An alternative view is that too much support might result in the grandmothers taking on the role of mother. This paper explores research around the ambivalent meanings of grandparental support in young Swedish mothers’ narratives. In this research, we identified three repertoires: inhibiting, being-there-no-matter-what and responsibility. Mothers who were following their expected life course achieved a subject position as a ‘‘real mother’’ within a functioning nuclear family. Mothers deviating from their expected life course achieved a subject position as either a ‘‘mother in becoming’’ with a functional and supportive extended family or as a ‘‘real mother’’ with a dysfunctional and non-supportive extended family. In the case of young mothers who are seen as insufficient, motherhood might become negotiable and fluid between the biological mother and the young mother’s own mother.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
young motherhood, identity, grandparental support, life course, motherhood
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-131725DOI: 10.1177/0959353516685343OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-131725DiVA: diva2:1075516