Becoming a mother versus maternal role attainment

J Nurs Scholarsh. 2004;36(3):226-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2004.04042.x.


Purpose: To present evidence for replacing the term maternal role attainment (MRA), with becoming a mother (BAM).

Methods: A review of the evolution of MRA and a synthesis of research emanating from the theory was done, followed by synthesis of current research on the transition to motherhood.

Findings: A woman establishes maternal identity as she becomes a mother through her commitment to and involvement in defining her new self. Maternal identity continues to evolve as the mother acquires new skills to regain her confidence in self as new challenges arise.

Conclusions: BAM more accurately encompasses the dynamic transformation and evolution of a woman's persona than does MRA, and the term MRA should be discontinued.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Human Development*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Object Attachment
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Concept
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Time Factors