Daughters and their mothers: The reproduction of pronatalist discourses across generations
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The expectation that all women will become mothers, and that they will mother in particular ways, has been a focus of feminist attention for many decades. What has been less considered is how pronatalist discourses are reproduced across generations within the same family. This article draws on interviews with five pairs of white middle class daughters currently planning to have children and their mothers living in South Australia, in order to examine the ways in which mother-daughter relationships are a key site for the reproduction of pronatalist discourses. Three recurring themes are examined: 1) expectations mothers have of their daughters to have children, 2) (grand)mothers as advice-givers, and 3) generational differences relating to paid work combined with the continued privileging of mothering. The article concludes with a discussion of the ways in which pronatalist discourses are mobilised in mother-daughter relationships, and how these position women in relation to motherhood.
This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This author accepted manuscript is made available following 24 month embargo from date of publication (March 2017) in accordance with the publisher’s archiving policy