Lesbian mothers' lived psychological experience of planned motherhood in three South African cities : an exploratory study

Van Ewyk, Johanna Jacquetta (2013-12)

Thesis (MA)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The concept of what constitutes a “normal” family has changed within recent years. This is because various family forms have been found viable. The current study is exploratory and focuses on the planned lesbian family. It aims to describe lesbian mothers’ lived psychological experience of planned motherhood. Utilising a feminist phenomenological approach, the narratives of 10 lesbian couples were obtained. Their emotional experiences are discussed under four headings, namely; the decision to become mothers; the actual process of becoming mothers; motherhood experience; and the anticipation of and actual responses to lesbian motherhood, lesbian families and children of lesbian mothers. Significant findings reveal the decision making involved in becoming mothers; the influence the type of donor has on the couple and their child; the joys and challenges of raising children; the fair division of childcare and household chores; the importance of partner support; the level of bonding with social and adoptive mothers; society’s lack of parental validation; the issue of homophobia and the preparation of their children against homophobia. Lesbian mothers seem to experience motherhood in very similar ways to heterosexual mothers, except that they do not seem as lonely and isolated. The aim of this study was not only to explore the experiences of lesbian mothers, but also to give them a voice within the psychological literature and to strive towards the acceptance of diverse families within mainstream psychology and the broader South African community.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die konsep van wat ’n “normale“ familie behels het in die afgelope jare verander. Die rede is dat verskeie gesinsvorme as lewensvatbaar bevind is. Die gesinsvorm onder bestudering is die beplande lesbiese gesin. Hierdie was ’n verkennende studie wat gefokus het op die beskrywing van lesbiese ouers se sielkundige ervaring van beplande lesbiese moederskap. Daar is gebruik gemaak van ’n feministies-fenomenologiese benadering om die verhale van 10 lesbiese paartjies te verkry. Hulle ervarings word onder vier adelings bespreek, naamlik; die besluit om moeders te word; die werklike proses om moeders te word; moederskap ervarings; en die verwagte en werklike reaksies tot lesbiese moederskap van lesbiese families en kinders van lesbiese moeders. Noemenswaardige bevindings onthul die besluitneming betrokke om moeders te word; die invloed wat die tipe skenker op die paartjie en hulle kind het; die vreugde en vereistes van kinders grootmaak; die regverdige verdeling van kindersorg en huishoudelike take; die belangrikheid van lewensmaat ondersteuning; die krag van kinders se band met sosiale en aangenome moeders; die samelewing se tekort aan ouerlike bekragtiging; die kwessie van homofobie en die voorbereiding van hulle kinders hierteen. Dit wil voorkom of lesbiese moeders moeders in baie opsigte dieselfde ervaar as heteroseksuele moeders, behalwe dat hulle nie so alleen en geïsoleerd voorkom nie. Die studie se voorneme was nie net om die ervarings van lesbiese moeders te verken nie, maar ook om aan hulle ’n stem te bied binne die sielkundige literatuur en om te streef na die aanvaarding van uiteenlopende gesinsvorme binne hoofstroom sielkunde asook die breër Suid-Afrikaanse gemeenskap.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85801
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