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

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 - Linzi Williamson, Melanie Bayly, Evan Poncelet & Karen Lawson

Within this project we explored the understandings of informed consent. Through qualitative focus groups with young adults, we examined the various interpretations of consent and the factors that are perceived to limit or facilitate sexual consent. We also examined student perceptions of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Data collection and analysis is complete. Our initial focus was on student perspectives of the #MeToo movement. This data was presented at the Guelph Sexuality Conference in June 2019 and published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality in March 2020 (citation below). We are also preparing a manuscript for publication focusing on student perceptions of sexual consent.

Williamson, L. E., Bayly, M., Poncelet, E., & Lawson, K. (2020). “It’s just one step in the right direction”: A qualitative exploration of undergraduate student perceptions of #MeToo. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 29(1), 11-24.