Becoming a mother

An Australian history

By Carla Pascoe Leahy

Becoming a mother
Hardcover +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526161208
  • Publish Date: Apr 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now

    eBook -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526161192
  • Publish Date: Apr 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now

    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6119-2
    • Published Date: April 2023
    • Series: Gender in History


    Becoming a mother charts the diverse and complex history of Australian mothering for the first time, exposing the ways it has been both connected to and distinct from parallel developments in other industrialised societies. In many respects, the historical context in which Australian women come to motherhood has changed dramatically since 1945. And yet examination of the memories of multiple maternal generations reveals surprising continuities in the emotions and experiences of first-time motherhood.

    Drawing upon interdisciplinary insights from anthropology, history, psychology and sociology, Carla Pascoe Leahy unpacks this multifaceted rite of passage through more than 60 oral history interviews, demonstrating how maternal memories continue to influence motherhood today. Despite radical shifts in understandings of gender, care and subjectivity, becoming a mother remains one of the most personally and culturally significant moments in a woman's life.


    1 Approaching matrescence: theory, context, methodology
    2 Mother-in-waiting: pregnancy
    3 The birth of a mother: labour & childbirth
    4 Motherlove: mothers & their children
    5 Mothering the mother: maternal relationships & support
    6 Motherload: maternal work
    7 The maternalisation of the self: mothering & identity
    Appendix: narrator biographies


    Carla Pascoe Leahy is Lecturer in Family History at the University of Tasmania.

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