Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Negotiating Motherhood Identity and Religious Voices of Authority

Presenter Information

Erin SorensenFollow

Class

Article

Department

English

Faculty Mentor

Lisa Gabbert

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Motherhood is one of the most unifying experiences of womanhood. All women whether mothers or not are influenced in some way or another by motherhood throughout their lives. This shared experience makes the study of motherhood in all its forms one of the most essential to the study of women, especially women's folklore. Although each mother's experience is unique, women's experiences with motherhood shape their identity and impact the choices they make. For many women, motherhood provides them with their sense of self. Because motherhood is deeply personal it is no wonder that the transition from childless woman to motherhood is fraught with excitement, fear, and anxiety. This anticipation and uncertainty is heightened by the multitude of authoritative voices from the medical field, culture (in the form of the new momism), and religion telling women what to expect from motherhood and how to be a good mother. Sometimes these voices of authority offer conflicting advice, leaving women confused during a time of critical transition. In this presentation I will look at birth and motherhood as a transitional rite of passage and explore how women make the transition from childless woman to mother by analyzing women's narratives. I seek to examine how women engage specifically with religious voices of authority on birth and motherhood and how those discourses shape their identity as a mother. Understanding how these voices of authority affect women will provide insight into women's experience and ability to reintegrate into society following a significant rite of passage.

Start Date

4-9-2015 4:00 PM

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Apr 9th, 4:00 PM

Negotiating Motherhood Identity and Religious Voices of Authority

Motherhood is one of the most unifying experiences of womanhood. All women whether mothers or not are influenced in some way or another by motherhood throughout their lives. This shared experience makes the study of motherhood in all its forms one of the most essential to the study of women, especially women's folklore. Although each mother's experience is unique, women's experiences with motherhood shape their identity and impact the choices they make. For many women, motherhood provides them with their sense of self. Because motherhood is deeply personal it is no wonder that the transition from childless woman to motherhood is fraught with excitement, fear, and anxiety. This anticipation and uncertainty is heightened by the multitude of authoritative voices from the medical field, culture (in the form of the new momism), and religion telling women what to expect from motherhood and how to be a good mother. Sometimes these voices of authority offer conflicting advice, leaving women confused during a time of critical transition. In this presentation I will look at birth and motherhood as a transitional rite of passage and explore how women make the transition from childless woman to mother by analyzing women's narratives. I seek to examine how women engage specifically with religious voices of authority on birth and motherhood and how those discourses shape their identity as a mother. Understanding how these voices of authority affect women will provide insight into women's experience and ability to reintegrate into society following a significant rite of passage.