Becoming a mother--an analysis of women's experience of early motherhood

J Adv Nurs. 1997 Apr;25(4):719-28. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1997.t01-1-1997025719.x.


This paper presents the results of a qualitative study conducted by midwife researchers into women's experience of new motherhood. Data were collected using focus groups involving 55 first-time mothers and analysed using grounded theory method. The analysis produced six categories: 'realizing', 'unready', 'drained', 'aloneness', 'loss' and 'working it out'. The core category, 'becoming a mother', integrates all other categories and encapsulates the process of change experienced by women. Also explained are factors mediating the often distressing experience of becoming a mother. The analysis provides a conceptualization of early motherhood enabling the development of strategies for midwives, nurses and other helping women negotiate this challenge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Fatigue
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • New South Wales
  • Psychological Theory
  • Social Isolation
  • Social Support