Daniel Stern's Theory Of Motherhood

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The motherhood process involves a progression of stages beginning at gestation and eventually leading to child rearing (Cranley, 1981). There are a number processes that enable a mother to have a more efficient transition from the gestation period to the beginning phases of infancy (Stern & Stern, 1998; Winnicott, 1956). One of the aforementioned stages is a theory conceptualized by Daniel Stern (1995) called the “motherhood constellation.” The “motherhood constellation” is a unique mindset held by the mother prior to the infant’s arrival and is sustained through motherhood. This mindset places the mother’s main focus on her new identity and journey, preparing her emotionally and psychologically. Another stage involved in preparing the mother…show more content…
Whilst active, the “motherhood constellation” becomes the mother’s primary mindset, and supersedes all others (Stern, 1995). The complex is said to be developed during pregnancy and then remain available to mothers when they need access to this way of thinking (Stern, 1995). The constellation consists of four main themes that preoccupy the mother’s thoughts. The first theme is the life growth theme entailing thoughts of the mother’s ability to provide her infant with life and the sustenance it needs to grow. The second theme is the primary relatedness theme, which concerns cognitions about the emotional connection the mother develops with her infant. The third theme is the supporting matrix theme, which is the mother’s need for a support system in order to ensure the success in life and emotional functioning of the infant. The fourth theme is that of identity reorganization, which involves the mother transforming her identity to one that can fulfill her new duties as a responsible mother (Stern, 1995). These themes allow the mother to be prepared for the arrival of the infant. Due to the constellation’s dominance as a complex, the mother is primarily thinking of her infant during her pregnancy and afterwards (Stern, 1995). The complex causes her to want to perform actions like synchrony in order to…show more content…
Each woman was interviewed with the “breakfast interview” a tool that consists of questions about the mother’s thoughts and feelings at a given moment about their infant. The results showed that during the last five months of pregnancy, the “motherhood constellation” was definitely present. Women’s thoughts were occupied by those represented by the aforementioned themes (Innamorati, Sarraciono, & Dazi, 2010). This study shows that the motherhood constellation exists during pregnancy, meaning mothers are already mentally preparing physically and emotionally for the arrival of their infants. This preparedness eases the transition for mothers into becoming mothers post-birth, because all they are thinking about is the reality of motherhood and how they can ensure the wellbeing of their infant, including performing tasks like
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