Maternal Psychology - Feminism & Psychology
Perhaps reviving the conceptual term matrescence, coined by and borrowed from the anthropologist Dana Raphael (1975), would be most apt within the landscape of maternity. Much like adolescence, but nested in the niche of mid-life, it is an experience of dis-orientation and re-orientation marked by an acceleration of changes in multiple domains: physical (changes in body, hormonal fluctuations); psychological (e.g., identity, personality, defensive structure, self-esteem); social (e.g., re-evaluation of friendships, forgiveness of loved ones, gains in social status, or loss of professional status), and spiritual (e.g., existential questioning, re-commitment to faith, increased religious/spiritual practices). We are indeed indebted to the early ‘‘maternal developmentalists’’ who aptly characterized motherhood in its multi-dimension and dynamism, both the oppressive and the liberating—the dichotomous phenomena that are often the hallmark of any major life transition. Their perspectives equalized and served to normalize, rather than pathologize, the ‘‘mixed-feelings’’ of women.