Based on online semi-structured interviews with middle-class and expectant mothers living in Western Europe (France, Spain, United Kingdom, and Switzerland), this study analyses how motherhood has been experienced and performed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article reflects on the articulation between particular new risk assessments and responsibility in a pandemic by showing women's coping strategies concerning measures of lockdowns or public health regulations. Using a Covid-19 lens also allows a broader analysis of middle-class families’ concerns about performing good motherhood. Through the discrepancies between women’s expected and actual experiences, the prescriptive aspects of pregnancy, delivery and the post-partum phase are highlighted and analysed, prompting us to consider parenting as a form of doing and proving. By underlying the importance attached to the expectant mother's well-being, the partner's involvement, the support of the relatives and the future socialisation of the baby, we argue that women face a myriad of imperatives to ensure a meaningful experience of motherhood.
|Journal||Medicine Anthropology Theory|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 25 Oct 2021|
- family ties