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Revista de la Asociación Española de Neuropsiquiatría

On-line version ISSN 2340-2733Print version ISSN 0211-5735


PARICIO DEL CASTILLO, Rocío  and  POLO USAOLA, Cristina. Maternity and maternal identity: therapeutic deconstruction of narratives. Rev. Asoc. Esp. Neuropsiq. [online]. 2020, vol.40, n.138, pp.33-54.  Epub Feb 15, 2021. ISSN 2340-2733.

Identity is built during childhood through the interaction of subjects with their environment and circumstances, and is subsequently modified during their lifetime depending on their different individual experiences, the interpersonal relationships they establish, and the predominant cultural discourse. Historically, we can define the binary concept of “gender”, male/female, as a fundamental factor of identity building that assigns very different social roles to different individuals depending on them being categorized as male or female. To women, maternity implies the birth of a new identity, which is traditionally linked to fairly strong pre-established cultural narratives about what a “good mother” is. This is, in turn, related to the traditional patterns of socialisation, which may spark a conflict against other cultural discourses centred around personal fulfilment. The difficulties that arise when trying to accommodate their self-decisions to the “good mother” narrative may generate anxiety symptoms, a sense of helplessness, and frustration among women. This struggle has propitiated and encouraged an important social debate with very opposing views about child rearing, nurturing, and care. In this revision paper, we propose a guide for exploration and management based on narrative therapy to help women we assist in our medical practice to question the social discourses that generate such emotional uneasiness and to validate their own decisions regarding the different approaches to child-bearing and rearing.

Keywords : maternity; identity; narrative therapy; gender; feminism.

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