Deferred Motherhood

SSHRC Insight Grant - Karen Lawson & Pamela Downe

The focus of this SSHRC funded research being led by Karen and Pam is to investigate how and when women form intentions on whether or not to defer motherhood. We will examine women's intentions to defer mothrhood (or not) using a framework informed by the theory of planned behaviour and a cognitive-social model specific to fertility intentions. This framework will allow us to examine factors at the personal level (atttidues, mental schemas), interpersonal (pressures/supports), and structural (life context; facilitators/obstacles) levels that are important to the formation of fertiity intentions within specific age-cohorts of Canadian women. A better understanding of the factors which underlie intentions regarding the timing of motherhood will highlight possible means (at both the personal and societal/policy level) of enhancing women's ability to meet their fertility aspirations.

HIV/AIDS and Mother Identities

CIHR Grant - Pamela Downe

This five-year, community-based research focusses on the interrelationship between women’s experiences with motherhood and Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), in a context where HIV/AIDS is highly Indigenized.  Using qualitative interview techniques, program surveys, and photovoice imaging, we explore: (1) how women’s culturally specific experiences of living with, being affected by, and/or being vulnerable to HIV/AIDS are influenced by experiences of motherhood; (2) how mother identities affect health-related beliefs and behaviours of women accessing the services of AIDS Saskatoon; and, (3) what HIV/AIDS-related resources and services are preferred by mothers participating in the research.  This project set the groundwork for the Family Support Program currently in place at AIDS Saskatoon.  The research is also the basis of a forthcoming book with University of Toronto Press that explores the dimensions of collective maternal care. 

Dissertation Research

Stereotypes of Involuntarily Childless Women - Linzi Williamson

The overall purpose of Linzi Williamson's dissertation is to examine how people experiencing involuntary childlessness are perceived. Specifically, the level of stigma and mode of stereotyping conveyed on involuntary childlessness by the general public will be investigated using two theoretical models: Weiner’s attribution-affect-action model of helping behaviour (Schmidt & Weiner, 1988; Weiner, 1980) and Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & Xu’s (2002) stereotype content model. Within this framework she will also explore the extent to which society is supportive of the inclusion of ART in Canada’s healthcare system, which would greatly assist those individuals for whom treatment is unaffordable, but would add an extra burden to what is often perceived to be an already burdened system.

Receiving a Pre/Postnatal Diagnosis of Down Syndrome - Sarah Sangster

Sarah Sangster's dissertation research focuses on the experiences of individuals receiving pre and postnatal diagnoses of Down syndrome in order to develop an understanding of how parents make meaning of this experience. She is also assessing the extent to which these experiences align with best practice recommendations for the relaying of diagnoses. The results of this research can inform policy by providing recommendations regarding the strengths and weaknesses of historical and current diagnosis practices and informational resources provided to parents during the process.

Mother Shaming - Kirstian Gibson

The goals of Kirstie Gibson's dissertation are to: enhance our understanding of the complexities of mother-shaming, examine mothers’ thoughts and feelings of the criticism they receive about their parenting choices, understand how mothers define shame and guilt associated with mother-shaming, the meaning they attach to these experiences, and consider how they compile support and criticism into a cohesive interpretation of the mothering concept. With this study, She hopes to bring attention to the criticisms mothers face during a time where support from others is needed. Identifying the experiences of shaming and its impacts may open the door for greater discussion of social support needs and a better understanding of self-esteem in new mothers.

Auxillary Projects

Informed Sexual Consent - Melanie Bayly, Linzi Williamson, & Karen Lawson

Within this project we are exploring the understandings of informed consent. Through qualitative focus groups with young adults, we are examining the various interpretations of consent and the factors that are perceived to limit or facilitate sexual consent. Data collection is complete and we are currently undertaking various forms of data analysis. Our initial focus was on student perspectives of the #MeToo movement. This data was presented at the Guelph Sexuality Conference in June 2019 and a manuscript is currently in review.