First Time Mothers Definition of a ‘Good’ Mother

Mary Adams 1 * , Angelica Almonte 1

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp. 195-206

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The aim of this study was to explore the ways new mothers define a ‘"good"’ mother, in order to understand where discrepancies may arise. Researchers used data gathered from a larger quantitative study. Qualitative data was collected as an exploratory aim. Data was analyzed using the manifest and latent analysis technique. Data was collected as part of a larger study and secondary analysis was completed. The sample consisted of 72 first-time mothers who responded to the question: “How would you describe a ‘"good"’ mother” at an antepartum and postpartum visit. Two themes arose from the data: Structure Lives to Always put Baby First and Open to Help. Many first-time mothers defined a ‘"good"’ mother using rigid, absolute terms such as ‘always’ and ‘no matter what’ prior to delivery. The postpartum definitions included slightly more forgiving language as they added that new mothers needed patience, and learning with the baby. First time mothers used rigid, absolute terms to define a ‘"good"’ mother. This study addressed the discrepancy between expectations and reality in the first-time mother population. Discrepancies have been shown to lead to postpartum depression. Nurses who care for new mothers can use this information to address expectations and how this will affect the mothers if reality does not match expectations.

Keywords: Definitions of motherhood, Expectations of motherhood, "Good" mother, Motherhood, Nursing.