Study shows mothers who postpone parenthood may struggle when things don’t go as planned

A new study conducted in Norway suggests that mothers who postpone parenthood are more likely than younger mothers to over prepare for first-time parenthood, and have greater difficulty when things during pregnancy, childbirth and the early months of childrearing don’t go as planned. There is also some evidence that they are more vulnerable to post-partum depression when their expectations are not realized, although that claim has yet to be proven in other large sample studies outside of Norway. Lead researcher Silje Marie Haga suggests that because many women who become mothers later in life are accustomed to having control over things in their lives, the transition to motherhood and coping with the unexpected realities of new motherhood can prove to be very challenging – possibly leading to depression and feelings of failure. The study involved surveys from 350 new mothers and in-depth interviews with 12 new mothers. The researchers highlighted risk factors for depression such as failure to achieve expectations, the need for control, and difficulties with breast feeding. The study highlights that new mothers need emotional and practical support, especially from their partners. The researchers hope to build an online support tool for new moms in Norway.

Read the study abstract here.


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