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Men's Transition to Parenthood




Men and women enter the transition to parenthood as a couple. However, they have arrived at this point via different pathways, that is, through their childhood and their own experience of being parented from which they /have learned that there are 'rules' that state how men and women should behave (male and female stereotypes) (Cowan et al., 1985).

As a means of furthering the study of men's transition to parenthood, and exploring their experiences, in 1995, Donovan, a nursing lecturer at The Flinders University of South Australia, and Ramsay, a well-known medical practitioner from South Australia, held antenatal experiential sessions with a group of six men and Donovan, alone, held individual interviews with the men post natally. Up until that time, little was known about the social and emotional experiences of men during their first pregnancy with their partner.


Contents include

  • Introduction
  • The theory
  • The process
  • Relationship of the theoretical schema to existing literature
    • Ambivalence in the early stages of pregnancy
    • Relationship with baby unreal
    • How should 1 be as a father during pregnancy?
    • Coping with changing roles and lifestyle
    • Relationship disequilibrium with female partner
  • The model
  • Conclusion
  • References
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Author / Editor Biographies

MBBS, Diploma of Obstetrics, Member of the Royal College of Gynaecologists and FRACGP.
RN, RM, BSSc, BEd and PhD.
Lesley Barclay has worked as a clinician, a hospital educator, a lecturer in health education and an education officer for the Family Planning Association of Australia. She has held academic positions from lecturer to professor. Her doctoral research was into sexuality and pregnancy. Her research and writing is focused upon parenting, midwifery, family health, women in development, safe motherhood and sexuality. At present she is leading research teams funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council studying parenting and care in nurseries that he...
BA (Psychology), GradDip (Education) and GradDip (Counselling).
Jo England's work reflects a combination of her initial experience in the theatre and her subsequent involvement with education, training, research and counselling. Jo has directed actors for experiential learning in behavioural medicine, education and drug and alcohol counselling. She has also spent time working with Dr Andrew Ramsay providing clinical training programs for general practitioners. Jo's present work involves working with families. She welcomes the opportunity provided by this chapter to support men in redefining and developing their roles in the family - she has two sons who ma...
RN, RM, Cert (Maternal and Child Health), BN, MSc (Primary Health Care) and FRCNA.
enny Donovan is a member of The Flinders University School of Nursing in South Australia. She wrote the following notes about this chapter: The project for my Master of Science degree evolved from the work of Barclay (1993) who interviewed couples during pregnancy and found a mismatch with regard to the sexual interest levels between men and women during pregnancy. I worked with Professor Lesley Barclay for my project and my novice research skills improved within the culture of a research-oriented and collaborative team of nurses, midwives and doctors at Flinders University. That environment p...

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