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. 2007 Jan;43(1):1-12.
doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.43.1.1.

First-time Mothers' Expectations of Parenthood: What Happens When Optimistic Expectations Are Not Matched by Later Experiences?

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First-time Mothers' Expectations of Parenthood: What Happens When Optimistic Expectations Are Not Matched by Later Experiences?

Kate Harwood et al. Dev Psychol. .

Abstract

Becoming a parent is a major developmental transition of adulthood. Individuals often have optimistic expectations about parenthood, yet this transition also presents a number of challenges. The authors investigated whether new parents have overly optimistic expectations about parenthood and, if they do, how this influences their adjustment to this role. The sample consisted of 71 first-time mothers who completed questionnaires during pregnancy and at 4 months postpartum. The study assessed women's expectations of caring for their infant and the influence parenthood would have on their well-being and their relationships with others. Most women's expectations were matched or exceeded by their parenting experiences. However, where experiences were negative relative to expectations, there was greater depression symptomatology and poorer relationship adjustment.

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