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Psychology of Motherhood

  • By: Denise Vallance
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Psychological approaches to motherhood tend to be disparate. The majority of theories focus on the relationships between mother and child and the ways in which mothers influence the normal or pathological development of their children. Only within the past two decades have scientists and psychologists begun to consider the subjective experience of motherhood (the thoughts, feelings, wishes, desires, and inner conflicts experienced through mothering) and the dynamic ways in which children change and affect women's lives as mothers.

Traditional Psychoanalytic Theory

Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory views motherhood as based on innate instinctual drives that are normal characteristics of a woman's female identity, while psychology includes many subfields founded by different individuals. The experience of women was not a primary concern for Freud, who was mainly interested in ...

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