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Mamma hursomhelst

Mother – a concept bursting with new meaning with today’s changes in technology and the society. Reality and ideals are crossed in contradictory messages. In Sweden, ten to fifteen percent of new mothers are diagnosed with depression; the medical reality stands in contrast with the images of happy mothers in glossy magazines and blogs. But both research and popular culture shows what impact motherhood has on women’s lives. The creation of norms is strong and affects women’s understanding of themselves. This can imply internalisation of an ideal and contribute to the experience of struggling alone with problems that in fact many are sharing. The ideal image of the happy mother can lead to feelings of guilt which can increase the risk of mental illness and affect the connection with the child.

The project Mamma hursomhelst is an interdisciplinary research project which gathers researchers from the disciplines literary science, medicine, gender studies, and nursing science. The aim of the project is to analyse contemporary narratives about motherhood in order to make visible notions and experiences about motherhood and thus provide a deeper understanding for this complex phenomenon and concept.

The project consists of three parts: Vulnerability and mental illness; Body and nursing; and Myths and taboos around motherhood. Within the project of Vulnerability and mental illness, Cecilia Pettersson both conducts and studies interviews with women suffering from postnatal depression. The aim is to determine what notions about motherhood that emerges in the women’s stories, and to investigate if bibliotherapy – reading with the intention to affect mental health – can be a method to strengthen depressed women’s mental health. A group of women are provided with literary suggestions and reading instructions for a period of three months. This group also has access to an online community where they can discuss reading with other members of the group. The results from this group are compared to a control group in Myths and taboos around motherhood, who are not going through this intervention. The women’s narratives will also be used in Myths and taboos around motherhood where they will be part of a larger investigation of taboos around postnatal depression and motherhood.

Contact person: Cecilia Pettersson

Page Manager: Katarina Wignell|Last update: 4/10/2017
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