'One of the most vulnerable times in your life': expectations and emotional experiences of support in the early postnatal period

Kate Johnston-Ataata, Renata Kokanovic, Paula A. Michaels

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Childbearing has cross-culturally and historically been considered a time of vulnerability and transition for new mothers and their babies, as reflected in the existence of ritual postpartum practices. The decline of ‘lying-in’ or confinement practices in Australia has, together with large-scale socio-cultural and demographic changes, led to many new parents, particularly mothers, finding themselves isolated and unsupported in the early postnatal period. This chapter explores how a diverse group of new parents in Australia felt and thought about social support in early parenthood, and the support they experienced. Based on an in-depth engagement with parents’ narratives, it argues that understanding emotional responses to experiences of support in early parenthood is impossible without an appreciation of both expectations of support, and the factors influencing such expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaths to Parenthood
Subtitle of host publicationEmotions on the Journey through Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Early Parenthood
EditorsRenata Kokanovic, Paula A. Michaels, Kate Johnston-Ataata
Place of PublicationGateway East Singapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9789811301438
ISBN (Print)9789811301421
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2018

Cite this