Prenatal representations of coparenting among unmarried first-time African American mothers.
Results of semistructured interviews with 45 pregnant unmarried first-time African American mothers indicated a wide range of expectancies concerning the coparenting relationship they would develop with others once their baby arrived. Most common coparenting systems projected by respondents involved maternal grandmothers and/or the babies’ fathers, though other caregivers were explicitly anticipated in a smaller number of cases. Multiperson coparenting systems were the norm, and only 2 of 45 respondents anticipated that they would be entirely on their own with no coparental system whatsoever. Qualitative analyses of mothers’ narratives about postbaby coparenting systems revealed five main constructions: having thought about and anticipating coparenting, positive in outlook; having thought about and anticipating coparenting, but with mild concerns (conflict, unreliability); having thought about coparenting and anticipating limited or no support; having thought about coparenting and anticipating significant conflict and nonsupport; and having not thought much about coparenting, being neither focused on nor worried about this issue. Illustrations of each of these types are provided, and directions for family science and practice are discussed.
Gaskin-Butler, V. T., McHale, J., Markievitz, M., Engert, T., & Swenson, C. (2012). Prenatal representations of coparenting among unmarried first-time African American mothers. Family Process, 51, 360-375.
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