Women Mental Health Consortium - Quarterly Meeting Presentation
October 18, 2016
The presentation given to the Women Mental Health Consortium introduced its members to Dr. Aurélie Athan's work on Maternal Flourishing: Motherhood as Potential for Positive Growth and Self-Development. Minutes for the meeting stated that the talk drew on concepts from positive psychology, spirituality, feminism and other perspectives. How motherhood is conceptualized in academia trickles down to popular representations in the media and our culture. The term matrescence from anthropology was revived to describe the developmental process of becoming a mother. Subjects in her study were asked questions which explored various dimensions, including unconditional love, self-transcendance, mindfulness, meaning and purpose, and awareness of the sacred. Motherhood was revealed both as a time of risk as well as great potential for positive growth. She discussed the “strange neglect” of focus on motherhood as a distinctive subject, separate from the focus on mothers in interaction with their babies and children. Dr. Athan plans to continue her work, and hopes that the training of graduate students from various fields and disciplines will carry these concerns forward in their careers.