Manuela Naldini, Paola Maria Torrioni

«....A very strong emotion...». Plans, expectations and care strategies during the transition to parenthood

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Gender; Motherhood; Fatherhood; Emotions; Childcare.

Linking together the perspective of life course and that of the sociology of emotions, this article focuses on the relationship between emotions and gender among expectant parents during the transition to parenthood. This study aims to answer to the following questions: (a) How do men and women face the arrival of the arrival of their first child? (b) Which is the relationship between couples' gender ideology, feeling rules and emotion work? The data comes from a large longitudinal qualitative study on the transition to parenthood. The sample is composed of 52 in-depth interviews − conducted before the baby birth − with 26 dual earner couples living in Turin and its surrounding area. Findings suggest that in more gender equality oriented couples fathers-to-be tend to «anticipate» the change that the arrival of the baby brings, but at cost of an intensive emotion work. A complex work of alignment between wish and feeling rules is also found among mothers-to-be work-oriented because of the difficulty to reconcile the feeling rules prevalent in their work context and the socially constructed expectations around motherhood.

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