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From Here to MaternityBecoming a Mother$
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Ann Oakley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447349341

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447349341.001.0001

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Learning the Language of the Child

Learning the Language of the Child

(p.130) 7 Learning the Language of the Child
From Here to Maternity

Ann Oakley

Policy Press

This chapter explores the process of a new mother coming to terms with her newborn. It shows how, within the hospital, biological motherhood is achieved, but the social role of mother is only rehearsed. The chapter considers the breadth of emotions that the mother goes through as she endures the crippling sense of isolation, the challenges of being a new mother, and even the joys of motherhood. Looking after a baby twenty-four hours a day is an experience that cannot be imagined in advance, after all. Ninety-one per cent of the sample mothers in this volume said it differed from their expectations — motherhood is more exhausting, even if it is also more rewarding, than the rosy pictures in the books. Images of how people thought it would be come more sharply into focus when viewed through the lens of reality: motherhood a full-time job, a responsibility for life.

Keywords:   motherhood, new mother, isolation, newborn

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