Museum of Motherhood Conference - Manhattan College, NY


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Changing the Conversation


In 2010, I created the Maternal Psychology Lab to reframe the conversation from a clinical to developmental framework of the transition to motherhood. Above are the biases we set out to address through our research. We dedicated our time to the firsthand subjective experiences of mothers and to create a language bank for them to articulate their experiences that were inclusive of both positive and negative narratives.

In 2010, I created the Maternal Psychology Lab to reframe the conversation from a clinical to developmental framework of the transition to motherhood. Above are the biases we set out to address through our research. We dedicated our time to the firsthand subjective experiences of mothers and to create a language bank for them to articulate their experiences that were inclusive of both positive and negative narratives.


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Matrescence like Adolescence


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I finally found a term in the anthropology literature – “matrescence like adolescence” — comes with a complex set of changes in multiple domains:

Bio-Psycho-Social-

Political-Spiritual

-Aurelie Athan, 2010

During my years of study, I leaned on literature from women-centered fields such as nursing and midwifery as well as feminist psychoanalysis. I found my ultimate rescue in anthropology where I discovered the lesser-known work on Matrescence by medical anthropologist Dana Raphale who also coined the word Doula and was at Columbia University. Shorty after, across the street at Teachers College, a course was also born in 2010 - Matrescence: Clinical and Developmental Implications.

A GAP in The Literature


Athan et al. (2019) - WAM: Where are Mothers in the Scientific Literature,  Unpublished Manuscript

Athan et al. (2019) - WAM: Where are Mothers in the Scientific Literature, Unpublished Manuscript

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The gaps and biases in the literature were systematically revealed.

WAM: Where are mothers in the scientific literature? Unpublished manuscvript

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Psychology Models of Adult Development


In 2015, an academic article was published proposing the reviving of the term  Matrescence  to be used as the developmental transition to motherhood as a complement to clinical or diangostic categories such as Postpartum Depression. This work was also presented in NYC that same year at the Women’s Mental Health Consortium attended by psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and social works, among other mental health professionals who specialized in this subject.

In 2015, an academic article was published proposing the reviving of the term Matrescence to be used as the developmental transition to motherhood as a complement to clinical or diangostic categories such as Postpartum Depression. This work was also presented in NYC that same year at the Women’s Mental Health Consortium attended by psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and social works, among other mental health professionals who specialized in this subject.


Fast forward a few years, and  Matrescence  is now evolving to become a more comprehensive and inclusive model for multiple identities and across the lifespan. I presented in 2019 A New Theory of Reproductive Identity Formation (2019) - Presentation at the National Sex Ed Conference

Fast forward a few years, and Matrescence is now evolving to become a more comprehensive and inclusive model for multiple identities and across the lifespan. I presented in 2019 A New Theory of Reproductive Identity Formation (2019) - Presentation at the National Sex Ed Conference

Matrescence in the Pop Culture


My work on  Matrescence  soon entered the zeitgeist after a decade effort at dissemination. I like to call it “farm to table” academia, in my intention to educate the public and create quicker pathways from the Ivory Tower to the hands of the public. Here is  Matrescence  transformed into a Ted Talk by a local NYC reproductive psychiatrist.

My work on Matrescence soon entered the zeitgeist after a decade effort at dissemination. I like to call it “farm to table” academia, in my intention to educate the public and create quicker pathways from the Ivory Tower to the hands of the public. Here is Matrescence transformed into a Ted Talk by a local NYC reproductive psychiatrist.

Unpredictably, the work of academia can take an interesting direction! It is also now a product line.  Matrescence  Trademarked as  Skincare  Line by a local NYC entrepreneur.

Unpredictably, the work of academia can take an interesting direction! It is also now a product line. Matrescence Trademarked as Skincare Line by a local NYC entrepreneur.

SWG Project