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Motherhood at risk

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Francesca Tessitore
added 3 research items
In Italy the increasing phenomenon of feminine migration mainly concerns East Europe (Istat, 2015). East European women, in order to support their families, emigrate searching for works opportunities which principally involve domestic or nursing duties. In a general redefinition of their own psychic and cultural identity (Grinberg & Grinberg, 1990), migrant mothers redefine also their motherhood adopting several strategies to negotiate their absence from home. In a social framework, commodification of love and technological management of family relations appear as dominant characteristics of transnational mothering (Orellana et al., 2011; Parreñas, 2001). Less investigated are emotional dimensions. The migration and transnational motherhood experiences were investigated through a semi-structured interview and analysed by the phenomenologicalinterpretative analysis (IPA) (Smith & Osborn, 2003; Smith et al., 2009). 5 women were selected on the basis of the following criteria: to be an immigrant woman who has lived in Italy at least from 10 years with regular residency permit, to have abandoned their children in their country in a phase between the second childhood and the preadolescence. Met in an Onlus, all women have Ukrainian origins, 50 median age, are divorced and employed as domestic workers. Four superordinate themes emerged: It’s up to woman, it’s up to me; Suspended between two worlds; An empty which we can’t narrate; The good mother must stay with her children. The motherhood experience is felt either as an heroic and feminine gesture which, through sacrifice, guarantees a better future, or a regret for the loss of essential steps of children life. The complex migration experience is represented as a suspension between two worlds, as well as a point of no return, in which the same Mother Earth, is perceived as a treacherous Mother.
The chapter explores the meanings that the experience of chronic physical illness assumes in relation to a specific aspect of the generative function, namely the experience of pregnancy and motherhood. Chronic illness and filiation are both seen as natural phenomena, but they are also products that modify our framework of meaning depending on the context; “critical events” that require a restructuring of identity on the part of the individual and of those institutional figures who represent the healthcare and social system. It describes a research project, in a hospital environment, involving psychological support for women diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis who were preparing for motherhood. What emerges is that the psychological function can aid integration of seemingly incompatible meanings, namely those of chronic illness and the looking ahead and planning that are characteristic of motherhood. Thus the idea of health is synonymous with the kind of decision-making power that psychological support can give to people in a hospital setting.
Introduction Researchers have shown that being a daughter of a teenage mother is a risk factor regarding the possibility of having early, unprotected sexual intercourse and of falling pregnant. The experiences of young mothers in such situations and the aspects of intergenerational transmission in the mother–daughter relationship have not been well investigated. Objectives This study analyses the experience of motherhood in young mothers (18–20 years at the time of the interview/15–16 at the time of their pregnancy) who are daughters of teen mothers themselves from the psychodynamic perspective of intergenerational transmission. Methods Six young mothers from Southern Italy were selected and interviewed. A semi-structured interview was used to explore the early experience of pregnancy and motherhood and their relationship with their own mothers. The interviews were analysed through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results Five superordinate themes emerged: I didn't want, I didn't see and I didn't feel; Adolescence? I suddenly became a mother; History repeats itself again and again; Confused Spaces and How difficult is coming into the world? Conclusion Adolescent mothers, who themselves are daughters of teen mothers, seem to have difficulty in representing the meanings associated with their experience of pregnancy and motherhood. A lack of narrative transmission of the experience of pregnancy from mothers to daughters emerged. The implications for research and social policies will be discussed.
Francesca Tessitore
added 2 research items
In Italy 90% of teen pregnancies occur in young women who are daughters of teenage mothers (Istat, 2012). Supposing a transgenerational transmission (Abraham&Torok, 1987) these data could be read as the perpetuation from mother to daughter of unprocessed aspects that go along with the feminine separation-individuation process that happens in the name of the 'same' (Nunziante-Cesàro, 2014). Teenage pregnancies may represent the attempt to act the desire of a child 'repairer' or to hit the sexual body (Pines, 1988; Ammaniti et al., 1997). In a wider research field that investigates motherhood at risk (Margherita, Gargiulo, Martino, 2014; 2015; Troisi, Gargiulo, Tessitore, 2015), the study explores the relation between the representation of teenagers' pregnant experiences and the maternal ones. 15 women that have had a teenage pregnancy, daughters of teenage mothers were interviewed. A semi-structured interview, based on the Teen Mother Interview (Bohr, 2005), was built to investigate the reconstruction of the pregnancy experience and the relation with mothers. We have submitted the interviews corpus to a content analysis. From the analysis, in the area of the pregnancy experience, the categories of meaning that emerge are: the asymptomatic body, the concreteness of the birth and the interrupted adolescence. The pregnancy discovery comes late and its description is flattened on the birth, on the background of an adolescence lived between regret and denial. In the area of the relation with their mother, the categories: ‘same mistake’, ‘now we are two adult women’ and the overlapping roles, recall a repetition directed to the conquest of an adult identity, as the maternal one, in which roles recognition is hard. The emerging difficulties in mentalizing the body's restructurings and the acquisition of an adult identity, searched through imitative thrusts, on the background of confused roles, support the necessity of preventive interventions (Riva Crugnola, 2014).
Secondo l’Istat (2012) il 2,1% delle gravidanze italiane coinvolge adolescenti (90% figlie di madri adolescenti) spesso provenienti da realtà socioeconomiche a rischio. La gravidanza, che comporta trasformazioni mentali e corporee da elaborare (Monacelli, 2011), è interpretabile come spinta regressiva o emancipativa (Ferraro e Nunziante-Cesàro, 1985) e può essere agita, laddove l’acting rappresenta una dimensione fase-specifica dell’adolescenza (Margherita, 2009; Blos, 1993,). Diventare madri-teen assume connotazioni rischiose dove più sfide evolutive si sovrappongono con la probabilità che non siano affrontate adeguatamente (Salerno e Tosto, 2012; Marcheggiani e Grasso, 2007; Zampino, 2005; Zani e Cicognani, 1999; Ammaniti et al., 1997), ed in cui si concretizza la presenza di “due minori a rischio” (Riva Crugnola, 2011). Inoltre, in gravidanza le condizioni di rischio possono caratterizzarsi come difficilmente rappresentabili( Margherita, Gargiulo e Martino, 2015; 2014). Lo studio esplora la ricostruzione dell’esperienza della maternità in adolescenza. Partendo dalla Teen Mother Interview (Bohr, 2005) è stata creata un’intervista semi-strutturata che indaga le aree adolescenza, esperienza di gravidanza, relazione con il figlio, relazione con la madre, relazione con il partner. Sono state intervistate 18 donne (età media 20), utenti di una Onlus che offre sostegno alla relazione madre-bambino, che hanno vissuto una gravidanza in adolescenza. Da un’analisi del contenuto emergono categorie di significato che rimandano alle dimensioni: “percezione del corpo”, “centralità del parto”, “adolescenza interrotta”, “confusione dei ruoli” (figlio/fratello, figlia/mamma, madre/nonna). L’esperienza di gravidanza appare inaspettata (99%), centrata sul parto e su un vissuto negativo dei cambiamenti del corpo, più visto che sentito. L’adolescenza è vissuta tra il rimpianto e la negazione. I ruoli appaiono confusi: il figlio assume tratti fraterni e la nonna si sostituisce alla madre, nella sovrapposizione tra identità non ancora elaborate: essere madre-essere figlia. Considerando la centralità degli aspetti concreti e poco mentalizzati, in un’ottica preventiva, ci si domanda quanto la gravidanza dia spazio al dispiegarsi di una maternità interiore (Bydlowski, 2004).