Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Of a Certain Age: On Older First-time Mothers
by McLean, Jennifer S., Psy.D., Antioch University, 2012, 127; 10807679
Abstract (Summary)

In the last four decades, the numbers of women in the United States who wait to have children have grown dramatically. In a series of four essays, first-time older motherhood is examined against the contemporary cultural backdrop, exploring its complexities, unique aspects, and implications. These essays are intended to throw light onto a psychologically complex experience, and growing phenomenon, through the lens of the first-time older mother; this perspective have been largely unexamined in the research literature. Previous research has focused on the reasons why mothers delay having children, the medical aspects involved in later motherhood, and the psychological aspects of pregnancy for older women. In comparison, a relatively small number of studies have focused on the psychological aspects of older first-time motherhood. Throughout these essays, the psychological experience of older first-time mothers is explored, the impact of sociocultural factors on this experience is considered, and the particular challenges these mothers face are unpacked. The first essay considers the phenomenon of becoming a mother later in life, reflecting on statistics, demographics, and reviewing the literature. The second essay examines how these mothers are sold fear and the psychological effect of the .“dangerization.” of childhood. The myths and dominant cultural narratives that surround motherhood- both the historic legacy and current discourse- are explored in the third essay and consideration is given to their meaning for the older first-time mother. The fourth essay explores the notion of ambivalence in new older motherhood. The project concludes with a reflection on the clinical and psychological implications for health and mental health providers, and a discussion of areas for future inquiry, exploration, and study.

Indexing (document details)
Commitee: Houle, Amanda, Smith, Colborn, Straus, Martha B.
School: Antioch University
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 79/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Delayed mothering, Motherhood, Older first-time mothers
Publication Number: 10807679
ISBN: 978-0-355-84279-1
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