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“I thought he was ugly”: mothers of extremely premature children narrate their experiences as troubled subjects
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University Hospital, Sweden.
2016 (English)In: Feminism and Psychology, ISSN 0959-3535, E-ISSN 1461-7161, Vol. 26, no 2, 153-169 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the ways in which mothers of extremely premature children make sense of their negative feelings towards their newborn child and their strategies for performing ‘‘proper motherhood’’. The analysis was guided by discursive psychology and the feminist debate on attachment, mother–infant bonding, and ‘‘good mother-hood’’. The empirical material was created within a sub-study that set out to explore mothers’ and fathers’ experiences of having a premature child and was part of a project investigating the need for support for premature children and their families. Parents were interviewed about the pregnancy, their experiences of the birth and hospital period, the process of going home, the experiences of pre-school and school, and thoughts about the future. The stories of four mothers, which dealt with negative feelings towards their child and the guilt and distress related to this, were selected for analysis. The mothers handled their troubled positions as subjects unable to feel ‘‘motherly love’’ by referring to notions of attachment and bonding, and good mother-hood as being loving and caring. Yet, the mothers also talked about motherhood as being socially constructed, as duties that can be performed without the ‘‘right motherly feelings’’, and as something that men could also perform.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2016. Vol. 26, no 2, 153-169 p.
Keyword [en]
motherhood, attachment theory, mother–infant bonding, gender, subject position
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-119962DOI: 10.1177/0959353516636149ISI: 000375771900003OAI: diva2:925840
Available from: 2016-05-03 Created: 2016-05-03 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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Widding, Ulrika
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